Massachusetts’ House Delegation Is Powerful Now [OPINION]
With the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, the power of Massachusetts' delegation has increased tremendously.
Our federal government is so deeply involved in our economy. Therefore, it matters how strong and well positioned a state's congressional delegation is relative to the state's economy.
Rep. Richard Neal is now the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. This is the most powerful committee in the House. Everything with money will now need the approval of Congressman Neal. It also means every member, on both sides of the aisle, will want to work with the Springfield Democrat—or at least the smart ones will.
Congressman William Keating, who represents the SouthCoast and the Cape and Islands, has seen his star rise in the new House, too. He has earned a coveted seat on the House Armed Services Committee as well as retaining his senior status as a longtime member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Massachusetts companies receive billions of dollars in military-related contracts from the federal government. Those funds flow through to workers in that industry.
“Congressman Keating’s appointment to the Armed Services Committee will exponentially benefit the growing blue economy sector in Southeastern Massachusetts,” said Hugh Dunn, Executive Director of the SouthCoast Development Partnership. “From Hydroid to Lockheed Martin Sippican, from UMass Dartmouth to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and across the border to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, there are tremendous marine economy assets in the region. I am confident that the Congressman will champion the growth of these high paying jobs in the region and the advancement of technology that maintains our nation’s military superiority.”
Newly-elected Congresswoman Lori Trahan will be joining Rep. Keating on the Armed Services Committee. Her fellow Massachusetts freshman, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, will serve on the Government Oversight Committee as well as the Financial Services Committee. Veteran Congressman Stephen Lynch of Boston will also serve on Financial Services and Oversight. The financial industry is a major employer in Massachusetts and the folks employed there should feel good about their standing in Congress.
Worcester Congressman James McGovern is now the Chairman of the Rules Committee and therefore has a hand in every piece of legislation before it hits the floor of the House for a vote. This is an "inside baseball" type of job and that makes it all the more powerful in today's world of sound bite journalism and inexperienced reporters. The veteran Democrat can shape bills in ways the kids just won't see.
Congressman Keating has repeatedly stressed that it isn't an accident that Massachusetts has such a strong delegation and that it was done with a strategic plan. That strategy started decades ago and continues to this day among the veteran and freshman members from the Bay State.
The men who put this strategy in place, Tip O'Neill and Joe Moakley, have passed on, but their work continues in the House for the people of Massachusetts.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.