U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse on Thursday won election to a position on the House Democrats' messaging committee, making the freshman lawmaker the only member of Colorado's delegation to land a spot in congressional leadership.
Neguse was one of four co-chairs voted in by acclamation to a seat on the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee during leadership elections held via videoconference.
The post, ranking No. 8 in House leadership, gives the Lafayette Democrat a high-profile role crafting the caucus's policy and messaging as House Democrats grapple with a slimmer majority heading into the new Congress after losing nearly every toss-up seat in this month's election.
House Democrats on Wednesday nominated Nancy Pelosi for another term as speaker and re-elected House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Majority Whip James E. Clyburn and Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, who were all unopposed. In the day's contested race, Kathleen Clark of Massachusetts was elected assistant speaker.
At 36, Neguse, who is completing a term as a representative of 2018's freshman class, remains the youngest member of House leadership. He's the first lawmaker to win a seat on the DPCC in only his second term.
In his speech to the caucus, Neguse recalled that his parents immigrated to the United States 40 years ago from Eritrea.
"And because of their hard work, and the incredible opportunities and freedoms that exist in our great country — that don’t exist in a lot of places across the world — they were able to make it, and live the American Dream," he said. "And to see their son — just one generation removed—serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, as the first black Congressman ever elected in Colorado’s 134-year history.
"But here’s the thing, our family’s story is not an uncommon one. It is reflective of the reality that here in the United States, anything is possible. That in our country, dreams can become reality. And the work of the Congress must be to help the American people fulfill their dreams, their hopes, their aspirations."
Neguse added that he believes "a strong and united Democratic caucus" can deliver on its promises and "heal the deep divisions that have fractured our country, because we all have a whole lot more in common than we might think."
Neguse said after the election that he was "incredibly honored" to continue in the leadership team in his new role.
“There is a tremendous amount of work to get done next Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic and provide needed economic relief for our communities, lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs, and so much more. I look forward to working with both my colleagues and President-Elect Biden’s administration to tackle these critical issues," Neguse said in a statement.
Pelosi congratulated Neguse in a statement as "a deeply respected voice in the Congress and our Caucus since Day One," citing the "great visioning energy" she said he will bring to the new position.
"As a freshman representative to leadership, he has been a powerful force for unifying and strengthening our diverse, dynamic Caucus, and on the Judiciary, Natural Resources and Climate Crisis Committees, he has been an effective fighter for our children’s futures,” Pelosi added.
Jeffries also cheered Neguse's win, calling his colleague "a powerful and unifying voice for our caucus" in a statement.
“As co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, Congressman Neguse will play a critical role in steering our 'For The People' agenda and ensure that we are effectively sharing the work with the people we are honored to represent," he said.
U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, an Aurora Democrat elected earlier this month to his second term, on Thursday lost a three-way race to Colin Allred of Texas to serve as caucus leadership representative, a post open to members who have served five terms or fewer.
Neguse joins the DPCC's three current co-chairs, Debbie Dingell, Ted Lieu and Matt Cartwright, who all sought re-election to the committee. He fills a vacancy created by current chair David Cicilline's decision to run instead for assistant speaker.
Neguse easily won re-election on Nov. 3 to represent Colorado's heavily Democratic 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses Boulder, Larimer and Broomfield counties and mountain counties stretching up Interstate 70 to Vail.