Begich Gains Leadership Role With Senate Democrats

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC

Alaska’s Mark Begich says his new post on the Senate’s Democratic leadership team will give voice to more moderate members of the caucus.  Last week Alaska’s junior Senator was named to the Number Five slot in the Democratic leadership team.

Begich says he didn’t seek out the job, and doesn’t plan on changing his style or message to fit any mould.  His title is “Chairman of the Steering and Outreach Committee.”  That means he’s charged with reaching out to groups both inside and out of the beltway.

Begich says he hopes to use his new post to get differing viewpoints before his fellow Democrats.  He cites his pro-development stance, and says he’d also like to see a lot of Alaskans included in outreach. And he says his background should bring in business interests.

The Steering Committee is made up mostly of the chairs of major Senate committees, giving Begich face-time with some of Congress’s most powerful leaders.  They meet a few times a month with groups from around the nation.

Begich replaced Debbie Stabenow of Michigan for the job, who moved up to the Number Four post.  The Democratic leadership mostly remained the same with Nevada’s Harry Reid as the Majority Leader, Dick Durbin of Illinois in the Number Two job of Whip, and Patty Murray of Washington as Conference Secretary.  New Yorker Chuck Schumer got an expanded role as the head of a new branch that will work on the Democrats’ message.

Senator Lisa Murkowski had a leadership role on the Republican side of the Senate, also in her caucus’s “Number Five” slot.  But she had to give it up when she ran her write-in campaign.

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