Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was named Second Vice-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus today, joining the policy-making executive committee of the 43-member group, all Democrats.
Cleaver was recruited for the position by CBC leaders. Why?
"To add a voice of progressivism flavored with Midwestern moderation," Cleaver said, explaining he is the only CBC member from a district with a black population of less than 30 percent (MO-5 is 23 percent black).
UPDATE: Cleaver said his top priority as an officer for the CBC will be to end the state election laws that require voters to present state-issued identification to vote. "Congressman Ike Skelton, my friend and member of Congress for 30 years, couldn't vote because he showed up at the polls and didn't have a driver's license -- Ike has polio and can't use his arms and has no need for a license. That kind of foolishness has to stop."
He added that the CBC leadership would work "to make certain CBC members are given optimum consideration" for important committee posts. Given the ire between the black caucus and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her decision to pass over member Alcee Hastings to lead the House Intelligence Committee, Cleaver said he expected that effort would be easier because Pelosi "realizes there's a great deal of disappointment in our caucus over the Hastings decision."
Posted by Matt Stearns