Hoyer Adds Six Members to Whip Team

Posted February 6, 2004 at 5:18pm

Seeking to improve on what they believe is an already competitive performance on floor votes in this Congress, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) broadened the diversity of his Whip team by adding half a dozen Members to his organization.

Hoyer recently tapped the six lawmakers to join the approximately 70-person structure, among them three freshmen, a black female and one retiring veteran Member. The No. 2 House Democrat said the new Members bring to the team a range of geographic, ethnic and ideological backgrounds.

“I think we all agree we think it will be successful,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer, in his first term as Whip, said he decided to make the six additions to give a formal role to Members who were already contributing, improve on record Democratic unity in voting and increase the diversity of the team.

“The key element they have in common is they are all hard and conscientious workers,” Hoyer said of the six. “They are very effective in working with their Members.”

Hoyer appointed as Assistant Whips first-term Reps. Mike Michaud (Maine), a Blue Dog, and Denise Majette (Ga.), a Congressional Black Caucus member. He also turned to Rules Committee member and four-term Rep. Jim McGovern (Mass.) and New Democrat Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.). Assistant Whips, of which there are about 40, are assigned five Members to track on any given vote.

“We want to make sure we have junior Members included,” Hoyer said. “They are probably working harder in their constituencies than any other Members. They are not only energetic and able, but probably as close to their constituencies as any other Member.”

Hoyer also named two new Senior Whips: freshman Rep. Chris Bell (Texas), who sits in a marginal district, and outgoing Rep. Cal Dooley (Calif.). There are about 30 Senior Whips who meet weekly to discuss and chart strategy on upcoming bills.

Hoyer said he asked Dooley, who is retiring after this Congress, to join the organization because of his strong interest in continuing to contribute to the Caucus.

“He wants to remain very active even through this, his last year,” Hoyer said. “He is one of our most thoughtful Members and I’m pleased he’s agreed to join.”

This marks the second round of structural changes since Hoyer became Whip roughly a year ago. Last January, the Maryland lawmaker initiated a major overhaul of the Wip shop.

Hoyer said he has no other major restructuring in mind for now, adding: “We’re pretty much going to keep on course. There are no other changes, other than that all the Members work very hard and very effectively.”