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As Blue Girl always says, mayor outranks Congress.

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D)) was elected Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus:

Representative Emanuel Cleaver in Kansas City, January 2008.

PRESS RELEASE 11/17/2010:

Congressman Cleaver Elected Chair of the Powerful Congressional Black Caucus

Cleaver will serve as the 22nd Chair of the influential Caucus after only six years in Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri was elected by acclamation as the 22nd Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) during the group’s organizational meeting. The CBC is one of the largest and most influential groups in Congress. Congressman Cleaver’s elevation to Chairman after only six years in Congress is seen as remarkable. The Congressman’s new position is good news for Kansas City and Missouri’s Fifth District.

“I am humbled and honored by my colleagues’ support, and I plan to prove myself worthy of their endorsement,” said Chairman-elect Cleaver. “I owe a deep debt to our current Chair, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, for her steadfast leadership.  I have learned much from her estimable example.  I look forward to working with all my colleagues, of all creeds, colors, parties, and ideologies, as we begin the 112th Congress in 2011.”

In accepting the post, Congressman Cleaver told his colleagues, “Because we now occupy the minority, the challenge we are faced with will be greater.  But I believe we are up to the task.  If we speak with one voice, our wisdom will reach further and farther than mere words can.  If we act with one spirit, our influence will be bolder and brighter.  If we walk together, we will accomplish our aim.”  

“Our mission, since our founding in 1971, is clear: “to promote the public welfare through legislation designed to meet the needs of millions of neglected citizens.”  As the conscience of the Congress, our work is never done.  As you know, our numbers continue to increase, the CBC is now the largest caucus and arguably the most powerful among democratic ranks.  But we must remember that there is more power in an open hand than a closed fist.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), who will remain Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus until January, applauded the election of Chairman-elect Cleaver, calling him a strong and capable leader.

“As First Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cleaver oversaw our Jobs Taskforce and played an integral role in crafting and implementing our legislative and messaging strategy on a host of issues from health care reform and the economic recovery to climate change and Wall Street reform,” said Congresswoman Lee.

Congresswoman Lee said it has been an honor to chair the 42 member Congressional Black Caucus for the past two years as the caucus has worked together to confront the many pressing issues facing the American people.

“While we have had many successes on a host of issues, there remains much more important work to do in the upcoming Congress and I am confident that the incoming CBC executive officers are more than up to the challenge,” said Chairwoman Lee.

Other CBC Members elected to leadership posts include:

Del. Donna M. Christensen (VI) – First Vice Chair

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC) – Second Vice Chair

Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (NY) – Secretary

Rep. Andre Carson (IN) – Whip

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Belton, Raymore and Peculiar, Missouri. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, House Homeland Security Committee and the Speaker’s Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Congressman Cleaver also serves as a Regional Whip of the Democratic Caucus and Chairman-elect of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Representative Barbara Lee at the NAACP national convention in Kansas City, July 2010.