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Florida's New Republicans in Congress Get Committee Assignments

December 16, 2010 - 6:00pm

With a new Congress convening in January, committee assignments are starting to come in for the six new Republican members of the Florida delegation. The freshmen from the Sunshine State will be sitting on a number of important committees as the Republicans take control from the Democrats.

On Friday, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., who will lead the House Agriculture Committee when the Republicans take over in January, named incoming U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland from North Florida to the committee.

"I am pleased to welcome our new members to the Agriculture Committee, said Lucas. They represent a broad slice of the country and will bring that perspective as we address the issues facing production agriculture and rural economies. The work of our committee affects the lives of every American. We must work to ensure that there is proper oversight of the administration, that rural America has opportunities for job growth, and that our farmers and ranchers have the necessary tools and certainty they need to provide us with a safe, affordable, and abundant food, fiber, feed, and fuel supply.

Southerland, who defeated Democratic U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd in November, is one of 16 new Republicans on the committee. Southerland will also sit on the Natural Resources Committee, where he'll be joined by incoming Republican U.S. Rep. David Rivera from South Florida who will also be on the House Foreign Affairs Committee chaired by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida.

Hernando County Sheriff Rich Nugent, the Republican who won the seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, was named to the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Veteran Affairs which will be chaired by his fellow Florida Republican, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller.

"Serving on these committees will give me a chance to continue fighting for a safer America and to be an advocate for those who risked everything in defense of our nation," said Nugent. "With three sons in the military and more than 30 years in local law enforcement, I look forward to bringing real-world experience to both committees."

U.S. Rep. John Mica -- soon to be the chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure when the GOP takes control of Congress in January -- named new Republican members of his committee on Thursday, including a fellow Floridian -- incoming U.S. Rep. Dan Webster. Webster defeated Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson back in November.

The new members of the committee will be rolling up their sleeves and helping to improve our nations infrastructure, put people back to work, get stalled projects moving, and conduct aggressive oversight of transportation projects and policy, said Mica. The committee and its new Republican members will be at the forefront of cutting government waste and red tape, and to finding cost-effective solutions for getting our country moving in the right direction.

Incoming Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West, who defeated Democrat U.S. Rep. Ron Klein in November, is headed to the House Armed Services Committee -- a natural fit for West, a retired Army officer who served in Iraq. Westalso receiveda seat on the Small-Business Committee.

The Armed Services Committee will be blessed with the addition of such a strong group of members next Congress, said U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., who will chair the committee. Their backgrounds -- including many with combat experience in Iraq or Afghanistan -- and unique experiences will benefit our committee, the military services and, most importantly, the men and women of our armed forces and their families.

Our new members will be called upon to immediately put their talents to work on behalf of our troops as the committee shifts to a war footing, added McKeon, who named 11 other freshman Republicans to the committee. We will work tirelessly to ensure our deployed forces have the resources they need to win in Afghanistan and sustain hard-fought gains in Iraq. Additionally, Im confident that each of our new members shares my commitment to spend every defense dollar wisely and return fiscal discipline to the Department of Defense.

Two incoming Republican freshmen from the Sunshine State -- Sandy Adams and Dennis Ross -- were named to the Judiciary Committee. Adams defeatedDemocratic incumbent U.S. Rep.Suzanne Kozmas in November, while Ross takes the seat that had been held by Adam Putnamwho is now state agriculture commissioner.

The House Judiciary Committee is often referred to as the guardian of the Constitution. We have a responsibility to protect the principles of liberty, equality and justice for all Americans, said U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who will lead the committee when the Republicans take control. Today, nine new Republican members were appointed to the House Judiciary Committee. Each member comes to the committee with a desire to work on some of the most important issues facing the American people today.

In the next Congress, the House Judiciary Committee will focus on efforts to strengthen national security, protect intellectual property, prevent frivolous lawsuits and keep children safe from Internet sex predators, added Smith. I look forward to working with our new members as we point the country in a new direction -- toward policies that promote prosperity and security for all Americans.

Ross will also be taking a seat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He wont be the only new Florida Republican on the committee -- U. S. Rep. Connie Mack, who was first elected to the House back in 2004, will also be moving onto the committee. Mica also will return to the committee.

There couldnt be a better team to stand on the front line of the effort to rein-in a federal bureaucracy that has institutionalized waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement, said U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who will lead the committee. I am particularly excited to have so many incoming members join this committee with a new mandate to make government more accountable and transparent. Their enthusiasm and commitment to reforming government so that it works better for the American people will be the driving force behind this committees success.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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