Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)
As the second most powerful African American in the nation, he has demonstrated a keen awareness and the ability to be a leader in the House
!By Danny J. Bakewell, Sr.
Not only is Rep. James Clyburn the most powerful African American in Congress, he may well be the most knowledgeable. Listening to him speak about the workings of Congress and specifically about being the “Whip” – majority or minority – is like attending a political science class. Still as the Majority Whip, his grasp of the subject matter in down-to-earth, simple, easy-to-understand language would be easy for a twelve-year-old to fathom, relative to the U. S. Congress.
Now that the Democrats will be the minority party in the 112th Congress, leadership positions will be a priority and the transition process has began. Since coming to Congress in1993 to represent South Carolina, Clyburn has had a proven track record of leadership. From day one, he has been the president of the freshmen class on his arrival in the House; he has been the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC); the vice chair and then the chair of the House Democratic Caucus; and was eventually elected by his colleagues to be the Majority Whip when the Democrats took over the House in the 111th Congress in 2009.
The recent takeover of the House by the Republicans has forced the Democrats to look for new leadership for the next two years and Clyburn’s record is exemplary. Some of his colleagues have begun to reach out and lend their support for Clyburn to be the minority whip.
In a statement to her colleagues, CBC chair, Barbara Lee, has reached out for “your support of Jim Clyburn to continue as Democratic Whip,” adding that “it is important that we have a leadership team in place that recognizes the strength and diversity of the Democratic Caucus and puts the needs of the Caucus before their own agendas.”
Furthermore, sources has said and it has been verified that Clyburn has already made his intentions clears that he is going to run for the office of the minority whip. One of his most outstanding characteristics is that he is a clear communicator and could bring the most diverse parties to reach a consensus. As mentioned above, he could readily simplify complex situations in easy-to-understand language for a twelve-year old. That is the “Jim Clyburn” who is seeking to be the Democratic Minority Whip.
In her statement, Lee added, “In the 112th Congress, we will need Jim’s dedication to thwart Republican efforts to repeal all of the progress we have made on behalf of the American people. I am convinced that we will regain our majority in two short years, but we need a leadership team that will stand up for the principles we cherish and effectively communicate why these principles will create more opportunity for all Americans.”
Clyburn’s attributes also reach out beyond the Halls of Congress to the people whom the Congress serve, and the businesses that serve the people as the engines that drive the economy. He has been a prolific fundraiser for his party, often traveling far and wide throughout the country to help fellow Democrats in their time of need and beyond.
Support for his leadership endeavors is not confined to the CBC, other members of the House are ardent in their support for Clyburn as the minority whip.
Fellow Democrat, Rep. Xavier Becerra has thrown his support behind Clyburn and has issued the following statement: “James Clyburn deserves to be re-elected Democratic Whip in the 112th Congress. Through some of the toughest legislative efforts in recent history-from health care to Wall Street reform-Mr. Clyburn found us the votes when they counted most. He fought to pass legislation that is putting America back to work and laying the foundation for a future where America leads the world in the new energy economy. He is a stalwart supporter of fixing our broken immigration system and providing every American a decent education and an equal shot at the American Dream. James Clyburn has my vote to continue as our Whip in the 112th Congress.”
Finally, in a recent townhall style meeting, Clyburn broke down the numbers in Congress and the different caucuses, and how he, as Majority Whip, had to balance the concerns of each group according to its priority. He would still be able to do so as Minority Whip.
And according to the NNPA and the Black Press of America which represent over 200 newspapers throughout the country, they are urging the CBC to support Clyburn’s bid to become the next Minority Whip.