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VT Rep. Welch joins House Dem leadership

January 19, 2011

NEAL P. GOSWAMI
Staff Writer
BENNINGTON — Vermont Rep. Peter Welch was selected for a Democratic leadership position in the U.S. House.

Welch, whose third term began earlier this month, is among 10 Democrats to serve as a chief deputy whip under Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

The position makes Welch a members of the Democratic House leadership team. He will assist Hoyer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others to advance the Democratic caucus’ agenda.

“Rep. Welch has stood out as a leader in the Democratic Caucus during his four years in office, and he will be a strong addition to our team,” Hoyer said in a release Wednesday. “He brings an important perspective to the table, and I look forward to working with him as we promote Democrats’ priorities of job creation and deficit
reduction.”

Welch, in a telephone interview, said he will look to bring liberal and moderate Democrats together. “The responsibility is to try to help create consensus within the caucus, which is essential if we’re going to solve problems,” he said.

Welch said House colleagues find him to be effective and pragmatic.

“My role here is as a pragmatic, problem-solving person. That approach, in some cases, has allowed me to work with Republicans, but in almost all cases, to work within the division in the Democratic caucus,” he said. “Serving as a chief deputy whip is going to give me the opportunity to keep doing that work, to build consensus.”

Welch said he was thankful to Hoyer for selecting him.

“He has often commented on my practical approach to problem solving. Of course, he’s a practical problem-solver as well,” Welch said.

The leadership position does not come with additional funds or other resources, according to Welch. It does allow him “staff privileges” on the House floor, however, meaning a staffer can accompany him into the chamber. Welch said he will also attend Democratic leadership meetings.

“I’ll be working harder and my staff will be working harder but it won’t come at any additional expense to the taxpayer,” he said.

Contact Neal P. Goswami at ngoswami@benningtonbanner.com

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