January 7, 2023 updates on Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Katherine Clark speaks during a news conference at the Capitol on January 5. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark assumed her role as House minority whip in the early hours of Saturday morning, becoming the highest-ranking Democratic woman in the chamber.

Clark is only the second woman after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve in one of the top two party leadership positions in Congress. Pelosi’s stint as speaker ended earlier this month.

“I ran for Congress to be a voice for women, families, and working people,” Clark tweeted in November following her election as the No. 2 House Democrat. “When I’m at the table, so are you.”

“I am humbled and honored to serve the American people as the @HouseDemocrats Whip for the 118th Congress,” added Clark, who ran unopposed.  

Clark joins a House Democratic leadership team that includes Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, who said in a statement that Clark’s “voice as Whip will be essential as our Caucus fights back against Republican extremism and delivers a legislative agenda that will help us take back the House in 2024.” 

Clark served as assistant speaker in the previous Congress, then the party’s No. 4 position in the House. She first joined leadership in 2019 as vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

A firm supporter of President Joe Biden’s agenda, Clark is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and has served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. She is an advocate of gun reform, Medicare for All and raising the federal minimum wage. In 2016, Clark joined then-Georgia Rep. John Lewis and others in staging a sit-in on the House floor to protest the lack of votes on gun control legislation.

She was among several Democratic congresswomen arrested by US Capitol Police in July during an abortion rights protest in front of the Supreme Court. 

“The extremist Republicans are determined to take us back in time and take away our rights. They can arrest me, but we won’t allow them to arrest freedom,” she tweeted.

Clark’s ascension to a top House leadership position comes less than 10 years after she entered Congress representing Massachusetts’ 5th Congressional District, a Democratic stronghold outside Boston. She won a special election in 2013 to succeed Democrat Ed Markey, following his election to the Senate, and has comfortably won reelection ever since. 

Prior to entering Congress, Clark served in the Massachusetts state House and Senate. She also worked in the state attorney general’s office as a policy director and served on the Melrose School Committee.

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