Newly-seated Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) was elected class president by his fellow Democratic freshman on January 4th. Cartwright will serve alongside fellow class president Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) for the 2013 legislative year.
The congressman, who defeated Rep. Tim Holden (D-Schuylkill) in last year’s Democratic primary, is one of 38 first-term Democrats sworn into the house on Thursday.
In a press release, Cartwright said, “I am honored to have been chosen by my fellow freshmen representatives to serve as a class President for 2013. I am excited to lead this historically diverse freshman class. It is imperative that as a freshmen class we work together with our fellow freshmen on the other side of the aisle to tackle the unprecedented challenges that face our nation.”
Cartwright’s Republican counterpart is Indiana Rep. Luke Messer. In a Jan. 5th CNN interview, Messer said that hopes to set up a series of events for freshmen to get to know other freshmen from across the aisle. “It’s harder to demonize people that you know,” Messer said, “I was surprised, when I first came here for orientation in early November, that almost every event was divided by party.” At the time of the interview, Messer stated that he had not yet spoken with Rep. Cartwright about class matters, but that the two had met at an orientation event following their elections last November.
According to various sources including Rep. Messer and former Democratic freshman class president Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama), the primary role of a congressional freshmen class president is to run class meetings, facilitate discussion between freshmen, and advocate on behalf of the freshman class to house leadership.
In addition to Cartwright, Pennsylvania’s freshman congressional delegation includes Reps. Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny) and Scott Perry (R-York). Rothfus and Perry are two of 29 Republicans elected to the House for the first time.
PA Freshmen Committee Assignments:
Rep. Matt Cartwright: Oversight and Government Reform; Natural Resources.
Rep. Keith Rothfus: Judiciary; Homeland Security
Rep. Scott Perry: Foreign Affairs; Homeland Security; Transportation and Infrastructure