Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-D) is about to take another step up in the ranks of the Democratic Party. On Tuesday, January 3rd, she’ll be sworn in as the House Minority Whip of the 118th Congress.
It will make her the second most powerful democrat in Congress and, she’s only the second woman to hold that position.
Boston 25 News Anchor Kerry Kavanaugh recently sat down with Clark to talk about how things will shift with Democrats in the minority and what areas could see bipartisan compromise.
But their conversation began with what her new role means for residents of Massachusetts.
Rep Clark: “They are coming right with me to the leadership table. Housing and transportation, the affordability of childcare and home care, so all of these issues affecting Massachusetts families get to be the ones that I make the priority when I’m at the leadership table setting the agenda.”
Kavanaugh: “How did things shift in the minority as the minority party?”
Rep. Clark: “You know, our priorities are going to remain the same lowering costs, creating great paying jobs, and making sure we have safer communities. But it’s going to be up to the GOP who will be taking the majority to really set the agenda. My door is going to be open.”
Kavanaugh: “To that point, what areas do you see hope for in 2023 for bipartisan work to get done?”
Rep. Clark: “You know, this is very much a question up in the air and one that we need to ask the GOP. Our [Democrats] priorities are clear. Our accomplishments were great. And now we are looking at Republicans and saying, we hope you will continue putting the American people first.”
Kavanaugh: “You’re in negotiations with Republicans on extending that child tax credit. Republicans are asking for a work requirement to get that over the finish line. Are you okay with that requirement?
Rep. Clark: “I’m okay with talking about it. You know, what I have found is that most of these families are working. But we want to make sure that if there are people that are taking care of a child that is medically complicated, has disabilities, are just taking care of children because childcare is unaffordable, that we are looking at all families and what they need.”
Since Kavanaugh and Clark spoke, Congress passed a budget that did not include an extension of the expanded child tax credit. Clark’s office was not optimistic that Republicans would revisit the debate in the next session.
Kavanaugh: “I ‘ve read a few articles that bring up your nickname, The Silent Assassin, The Velvet Assassin.”
Rep. Clark: “I am surprised by the nickname. I don’t think of myself as an assassin in any way. But I do think it speaks to a different role, a different way of being a leader. I think sometimes it’s surprising, especially with women leaders, that you can be calm, you can be kind, you can be a good listener and still be extremely effective.”
Kavanaugh: “So you are about to step into a new role. Haven’t quite started it yet, but have you given yourself a moment to think about what might even come after that?”
Rep. Clark: “No. You know, I am very much focused on this point in time. I want to do a great job, not just for the members of Congress who elected me to this position, but for the American people and making sure that they are well represented in the discussions in Congress.
With no clear leader set yet for the Republican members of the House, Kavanaugh reached out to the Republican National Committee for their take on the changes coming to Capitol Hill.
In a statement emailed to Boston 25 spokesman Keith Schipper said “Under Joe Biden, our country is divided. When running for office he promised unity, but instead he delivers historic inflation, unsafe communities, and a border in crisis.
Our Republican House majority restores accountability and will get to work tackling the issues American families are facing on day one.”
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