The resignation of House Speaker John Boehner at the end of October has opened the door for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to make a bid for a new role in the House Republican leadership.
The political website Politico says McMorris Rodgers is running for House majority leader. The current majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, is expected to run for speaker.
Politico says McMorris Rodgers is making calls to other members for support.
When asked for comment, McMorris Rodgers’ office released a statement that her top priority is the people of Eastern Washington.
“I believe D.C. can learn a lot from our values, our experience and our pioneer spirit — finding solutions and making things happen,” McMorris Rodgers stated. “My colleagues and I are having conversations as to the path forward.”
McMorris Rodgers would have plenty of support from Washington agriculture groups.
Russ Vaagen, vice president of Vaagen Brothers Lumber in Colville, Wash., said McMorris Rodgers would be good for the natural resource and agriculture industries.
“Our connection with Cathy is important at whatever level she holds in terms of leadership,” Vaagen said.
Aaron Golladay, first vice president of Washington Farm Bureau, said McMorris Rodgers has a unique skill set for leadership.
“Cathy has been a strong supporter (of agriculture),” he said. “She understands the different crops we grow in this part of the world that don’t fit into the corn-soybean-cotton world.”
With McMorris Rodgers in a leadership role, Golladay said agriculture would hopefully see movement with regard to the Endangered Species Act, which he said is “getting unruly to work with.”
Randy Suess, Whitman County representative on the Washington Grain Commission, said McMorris Rodgers is such a help for agriculture he worries about her rising to a level where she has to listen to the party instead of her constituents.
“I would encourage her because I really appreciate the work she’s done for us,” he said. “To have a representative from Washington helping make the decisions about the future of our country, that would be nice. But on the other hand, you talk about time-consuming jobs. ”
Still, Suess supports McMorris Rodgers “100 percent,” saying she would work to bring agriculture to the forefront.
“There are so few people in Congress any more that have anything whatsoever to do with agriculture,” he said. “That would be a tremendous thing for us, not only in Washington but for all of agriculture.”