Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) has been voted to a leadership position in the U.S. House of Representatives, being elected on Nov. 29 as vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Crowley, 50, has served in the House for 14 years. The vote makes him the fifth-ranking Democrat in the house, behind Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), Assistant Leader James Clyburn (D-SC) and Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.).
“It’s the first time since Geraldine Ferraro in 1982 that a New Yorker has been elevated to a position in the Democratic House Leadership,” Crowley said in a telephone interview with the Chronicle on Monday.
Crowley said part of the job is to serve as a conduit between members of the Democratic Caucus and the leadership. But he said the post will give Queens and all of New York State that access as well.
Crowley said he will not have to give up his seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which among other things is responsible for all federal tax and policy and Social Security.
The post precludes him from serving on other committees.
“It’s an extension of a job I already love,” he said.
The position carries with it more responsibility on national and international issues, though the congressman said constituents should have no fear that their representation within the district will suffer.
“I can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Crowley said. “I hope to continue to serve the way I have been for 14 years.”
It also carries more responsibility to shepherd President Obama’s policies through a House that has retained a Republican majority. Crowley said that will take some creativity, but that he intends to remain a strong Democratic voice on Social Security, Medicare and immigration reform.