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Redlands Rep. Pete Aguilar was elected vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus on Thursday, guaranteeing at least one Latino member of House leadership in 2021 and 2022.Aguilar faced Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois for the No. 6 slot in leadership, winning 148 to 82. Once called the “potted plant” position, the role has developed increased prominence in the past few terms and is often a launching point for higher leadership positions. Aguilar replaces Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) who was elected assistant speaker Wednesday.“I don’t want to just take up space, I want to be useful to the caucus,” he said.Aguilar lost a bid for the position in 2018, and said before Thursday’s election that he used that failure to prepare him for this bid.
He began speaking with colleagues months ago to get a better sense of their needs and concerns before asking for their support. Aguilar recruited an 18-person “whip team” of supporters to lobby colleagues on his behalf, speaking with every Democrat in the House and many of the candidates who ran in 2020 and would get to vote if they won their own elections.“People need to be heard, and giving them the space to be heard …
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