House Democrats have selected Oregon’s Peter DeFazio as the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. With 26 years on the committee, Defazio was second in line behind Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, who was just sworn in to the U.S. Senate.
In a statement, DeFazio said he would use his role to push policies that promote conservation, address climate change and emphasize sustainable forestry practices.
Jim Moore is a political science professor at Pacific University.
He says even though Republicans control the House, the position gives DeFazio a role in deciding what comes before the committee and who’s allowed to testify.
“When you’re the ranking member, you’re basically in the leadership of the committee itself,” said Moore.
Moore says should Democrats retake the House, Defazio would likely become the first House member from Oregon to chair a committee since 1999.