By Ray O’Hanlon
At some point in the future, all things proceeding as they have proceeded thus far, Congressman Joe Crowley should be Leader Crowley.
He is just three places away from that title now after yesterday’s vote among House of Representative Democrats for a leadership team that will take the caucus through to the midterm elections in 2018.
Crowley was named in a report last week as a possible contender for Leader Nancy Pelosi’s job – this as a result of a push by younger House Democrats – but he opted for the safer route by putting his name forward for the post of Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
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He was already vice-chair, so this was a safe and logical step.
As it turned out, the challenge to Pelosi came from Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who garnered a respectable enough 63 votes but, in the end, could not come close to former Speaker Pelosi, 76, who retained her leadership position for the run of the 115th Congress.
Ryan is young, just 43. Crowley, too, is young in political terms. He is 54.
When all the votes were counted, Pelosi was followed by Rep. Steny Hoyer, 77, who was re-elected as party whip (the number two job) and Rep. James Clyburn, 76, as assistant Democratic leader (number three).
Crowley came in at number four with Rep. Linda Sanchez moving into his old post as vice chair for the next Congress.
Said Crowley in a statement: “I am humbled by the support of my colleagues and I look forward to serving them as the Chairman of the Democratic Caucus.
“I am eager to get to work alongside Leader Pelosi, Whip Hoyer, Assistant Leader Clyburn, and Vice Chair Sánchez as we work to advance an agenda that lifts up the American people and moves our country in the right direction.
“We are at a critical juncture, facing unprecedented challenges and attacks on our core principles. We must focus our energies on charting a path for our caucus and the American people. As Chair, I look forward to creating a platform for all of our members to share idea, engage one another, and work collectively to establish a way forward.”
Crowley, according to the statement from his office, was nominated for Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus by Reps. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Representative-Elect Tom Suozzi (D-NY).
Crowley, a front line representative when it comes to the concerns and issues of activist Irish Americans, is the nine-term representative from the 14th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx.
He is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.