DeGette Announces Run for Democratic Whip
Denver, CO – Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), Chief Deputy Whip in the Democratic caucus for the last seven congresses, announced in a letter to her colleagues that she is seeking the Democratic Whip post as Democrats reclaim the majority in the House of Representatives. Rep. DeGette would be the first Democratic Member of Congress from the Mountain West in leadership and only the second woman to serve as Whip.
“Our return to the majority was powered by women voters across the country, and we need to repay their trust by adding women to Democrats’ leadership team,” said DeGette. “As we add even more women to our ranks in Congress—largely because of Democratic candidates—our caucus should reflect this strength, including at the leadership table.
“With a narrow majority and a diverse caucus, we need a whip with the skills and experience to build coalitions and win votes. The American people will be watching and holding us accountable for successfully moving our agenda on their behalf, and we cannot do so without securing a majority on the House floor. I have the background that the Democratic caucus needs for this job and at this moment.”
Rep. DeGette has built a record of leadership on major, hot-button issues, including health care, energy, science, and choice. Her track record developing, drafting, and whipping legislation includes landmark bills and key moments of success for House Democrats.
The full text of Rep. DeGette’s announcement letter is available below.
November 7, 2018
Dear Democratic Colleague:
I am running to serve our caucus as Democratic Whip and hope to count on your support.
Thanks to your tireless work and the energy and enthusiasm of Democratic voters across the country, we will enter the 116th Congress with a Democratic House majority for the first time in eight years. This will be an awesome responsibility as we fight to deliver on the promise of bold action for the American people – even while Republicans continue to hold the Senate and the White House. In this tough environment, I am confident my years of whipping experience will help us win the key floor votes that we will need to advance our agenda.
Success for House Democrats in the coming years will require strong unity to stand for our core shared values, while appreciating we only reach that unity by understanding the perspective of every member and his or her district. The Whip must empower each member of our caucus to serve as a full partner, bringing his or her energy, passion, and expertise together with others’ to meet our common goals. It will also require the institutional knowledge and legislative savvy to go toe-to-toe with Senate Republicans and the White House.
Having served for seven congresses as Chief Deputy Whip, I have a strong track record as an effective strategist, precise vote counter, and experienced, bipartisan negotiator. I have passed major bipartisan bills, like the 21st Century Cures Act, rallied Republicans to support ethical stem cell research, forged agreements in our caucus on the Affordable Care Act, and held Democrats together on close energy and environmental votes. For nearly two decades as co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, I have whipped countless tough votes in an effort to successfully stop the Republicans’ radical anti-choice agenda. You can count on me to deliver for our caucus.
We also must do more to ensure our leadership reflects the diversity of the caucus and our constituents. Eighteen years ago, our caucus voted to elevate a woman to the top levels of leadership, and it is past time for us to do so again—I would be only the second woman to hold this post. I would also be the first Whip from the Mountain West, and our path to a lasting majority must include broadening the caucus’ geographic appeal.
As Whip, I will reinvigorate all aspects of the current operation to ensure we draw upon the full potential of our members. This means bolstering the existing operation to more deeply involve bill sponsors, issue experts, and committee chairs and members when a bill moves to the House floor. It also means partnering with our messaging arm, so that our work resonates throughout the country and shows the American people that our actions can live up to our words.
I will continue to campaign on behalf of Democratic candidates across the country, from the most vulnerable incumbents to promising new challengers. I also understand the responsibility the Whip has to raise the money necessary to communicate effectively. I have raised millions for candidates and the DCCC, and I was on the host committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, which raised more than $60 million.
This is an important moment for our caucus to move smartly on behalf of the American people. Together, we can protect American values and enact positive change for the country that rallies the public to our cause. I look forward to discussing how I can work with you as Democratic Whip during this effort.
Member of Congress