Houla­han won’t com­mit to Pelosi ... yet

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­[email protected]­ly­lo­cal.com

Con­gress­woman-elect Chrissy Houla­han has yet to de­cide whether she will sup­port Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House, a po­si­tion made pos­si­ble by House gains that Houla­han sym­bol­izes.

Asked her po­si­tion on the speaker’s race, which has grown con­tentious in the days since the Democrats’ elec­tion vic­to­ries in House races in Penn­syl­va­nia and across the coun­try, Houla­han told the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., pub­li­ca­tion The Hill: “I have enor­mous re­spect for Leader Pelosi, but I do want to make sure that I un­der­stand to the de­gree that I can what kind of re­form can hap­pen on the floor so that new voices can be heard.”

Later Sun­day, in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view on CBS News, Houla­han said in re­gards to Pelosi, “I am ac­tu­ally fun­da­men­tally lean­ing to­wards vot­ing for her. But I take this re­spon­si­bil­ity very, very se­ri­ously.

“There are a lot of mov­ing parts in lead­er­ship and many de­ci­sions that need to be made, not just her elec­tion, but the elec­tion of other peo­ple’s as — peo­ple as well,” she said. “And I’m a de­lib­er­a­tive per­son.”

Houla­han, a first-time can­di­date for of­fice who out­spent her op­po­nent sig­nif­i­cantly, won a his­toric elec­tion in Penn­syl­va­nia’s 6th Con­gres­sional District on Nov. 6, be­com­ing not only the fist woman to rep­re­sent Ch­ester County in Congress but the first Demo­crat to do so since the years be­fore the Civil War.

Houla­han de­feated fel­low po­lit­i­cal new­comer Re­pub­li­can Greg McCauley to rep­re­sent the 6th District, which in­cludes all of Ch­ester County and parts of Berks County, in­clud­ing the City of Read­ing.

Houla­han has been meet­ing with fel­low newly elected House mem­bers in Wash­ing­ton this past week and go­ing through the steps of learn­ing the ropes of be­ing a mem­ber of Congress. The Hill has re­ported that she has placed her name in con­sid­er­a­tion for a po­si­tion among the Demo­cratic House lead­er­ship, launch­ing a bid for one of the three co-chair slots on the Demo­cratic Pol­icy and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mit­tee.

“I think that peo­ple rec­og­nize that there is this great big class of peo­ple who are com­ing in with kind of fresh ex­pe­ri­ence and fresh legs and fresh ideas and that if we would like to main­tain the ma­jor­ity that we need to make sure that we’re lis­ten­ing to ev­ery­body,” she said in an in­ter­view.

There are at least five can­di­dates in that race al­ready, although Houla­han, a for­mer busi­ness ex­ec­u­tive, Air Force of­fi­cer and ed­u­ca­tor, is the only one run­ning from among the incoming fresh­man class.

“We need some­one who’s been through this re­cently to be able to have that con­ver­sa­tion about what it is re­ally like to be a can­di­date or a con­gressper­son in the post-Trump en­vi­ron­ment,” she said.

Houla­han was one of Democrats’ star re­cruits of the 2018 cy­cle, and not only raised more than $3 mil­lion but ran highly ef­fec­tive ads on so­cial me­dia and tele­vi­sion that em­pha­sized her per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence in a vis­ually grab­bing way.

The fight over Pelosi has grabbed head­lines, although not much ac­tual pro­ceed­ings. For now, it’s a band of dis­grun­tled Democrats, led mostly by men, stand­ing against the sweep of na­tion­ally-known Pelosi al­lies. With a test vote loom­ing in late Novem­ber, and at least one po­ten­tial Pelosi chal­lenger step­ping for­ward, Democrats faced the grim prospect of the in­ter­nal squab­ble over the Jan. 3 speaker’s vote drag­ging on for weeks, with no clear end game in sight.

“I think chaos is good if it’s pro­duc­tive. I think chaos is bad if it is too dis­rup­tive and it di­vides us too much,” said U.S. Rep. Pramila Jaya­pal, of Wash­ing­ton, a co-chair of the Con­gres­sional Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus, whose lead­ers were up­beat af­ter meet­ing with Pelosi last week.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Chrissy Houla­han speaks to her sup­port­ers at Franklin Com­mons in Phoenixville on Nov. 6, af­ter claim­ing vic­tory in the 6th Con­gres­sional District.

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