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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 18, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 47
Sen. Patty Murray now #3 in Democratic leadership
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Sen. Patty Murray now #3 in Democratic leadership

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Washington Sen. Patty Murray has been elected assistant Democratic leader in the US Senate, moving her up to the number three position in her party's leadership team.

In the November 15 Democratic caucus election, Chuck Schumer of New York was - as expected - elected minority leader, succeeding retiring leader Harry Reid. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin was re-elected minority whip.

Murray, who hinted she might challenge Durbin for the number two spot, moved up to assistant leader from her previous post as Democratic conference secretary, a position she's held since 2006.

'We have a tough road ahead of us with Republicans in control of Congress and a new Republican president who campaigned on dividing our country and rolling back all of the progress we've made over the past eight years,' Murray said in a statement.

Senate Democrats, she said, will work with Republicans if they're willing 'to move our country in the right direction' but will fight 'tooth and nail - if they try to divide our country, hurt our constituents, or drag us backwards.'

Murray's conference secretary position will be replaced by a new Policy and Communications Committee with Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan as chair and number four in the leadership.

The Democrats also created new leadership positions for Bernie Sanders - he's now in charge of outreach - and Elizabeth Warren. To balance Sanders and Warren, conservative Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Warner of Virginia got minor leadership posts.

The Senate's only open Lesbian, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, also secured a leadership spot.

'We'll unite our caucus and speak to the blue-collar worker in West Virginia and Michigan as well as the people who live along the coasts,' Schumer said after the November 15 leadership meeting. 'We can unite the disparate factions of our party and country. Our whole leadership team is emblematic of that. Our team is ideologically and geographically diverse.'

On the Republican side, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane was re-elected to the number four position in her caucus as House GOP conference chairwoman.

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