Michigan Republican Candice S. Miller was appointed chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, House Speaker John A. Boehner announced Friday afternoon, making Miller the only female chairman of a House committee for the 113th Congress.
Miller’s selection over Mississippi Rep. Gregg Harper — who had expressed interest in the post — comes just days after House Republicans were chided by Democrats and some womens’ groups for signing off on an all-white male cast to lead the 19 major House committees.
Miller will replace Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., who lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Ami Bera.
“I am both humbled and honored by the confidence Speaker Boehner has shown in me to take on the chairmanship of the Committee on House Administration,” Miller, the former Michigan secretary of state, said in a statement. “This committee has the responsibility to ensure that the House runs in an effective and efficient manner which is vital as we work to meet the many challenges facing this great nation.”
As chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, Miller has jurisdiction over the federal election process, which is currently being tested by disparate state voter registration laws that many say were written to curb minority turnout and others claim are a magnet for voter fraud.
She said that ensuring free and fair elections will be one of her top priorities in her new role.
“My past record and experience as chief elections officer during my time as Michigan’s secretary of state will assist me in accomplishing the many challenges set before us and ensuring that we effectively lead in the area of elections as that is the foundation for our democracy,” Miller said in a statement.
Boehner, R-Ohio, praised Miller in a statement announcing her appointment, but steered clear of making any mention of Miller’s gender having an influence on his decision.
“In her new post, Candice will provide the leadership needed to keep operating costs down, save taxpayer dollars and help lawmakers use new technology to better engage with their constituents,” he said. “And her experience as Michigan Secretary of State will be invaluable given the committee’s oversight of campaign finance and election laws.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.