Himes to head centrist Dem group

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District

Washington – Rep. Jim Himes was elected Thursday to head the centrist New Democrat Coalition in the next Congress.

Himes had been one of four vice chairmen of the coalition.

“I would like to thank my fellow New Dems for the trust they have placed in me to lead this coalition and fight for them and the American people next Congress,” Himes said. “The future will bring unimagined opportunities, innovation and change. But, as the presidential election showed, change often leaves too many Americans behind. I’m thrilled to have the chance to lead the most forward-looking group of members in the Congress, all of whom are dedicated to defending and supporting those who get left behind.”

Created in 1997, the New Democrat Coalition say’s it’s a “moderate” and “pro-growth” group with about 50 members.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland congratulated Himes on his win.

“The New Democrats play a critical role in our Caucus, advocating powerfully on behalf of working families and small businesses who are looking to Congress to help create the conditions for economic growth …” Hoyer said.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, and Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, are the other members of the Connecticut congressional delegation who belong to the group.

Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., is the outgoing chairman. Like other Democrats this week, Kind has been critical of the top Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, saying it did not try hard enough to appeal to a broader coalition of voters, including blue-collar workers.

House Democratic leadership elections were held Wednesday, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was challenged by Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

Pelosi prevailed in a 134-63 vote in the Democratic caucus. The vote was by secret ballot. Kind and other moderate Democrats would not say whether they had voted for Pelosi, but all five Connecticut members of the U.S. House of Representatives said they had.

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