Clarke re-appointed to senior positions on House committees

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
Office of Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke

Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke on Wednesday announced her appointment to once again serve on the United States House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, and House Committee on Homeland Security.

“Serving as a senior member on both the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Homeland Security Committee during the 117th Congress has been an incredible honor, and I proudly accept the support of my colleagues to continue working into this new legislative session,” Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, told Caribbean Life.

“Over the last few years, House Democrats have delivered for the American people, helping to build an economy that works for all Americans, lowering healthcare costs, bridging the digital divide, and making transformative investments in clean, secure, American energy to finally address the climate crisis,” added the representative for the largely Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn.

“I look forward to continuing the great progress we’ve made in the cybersecurity space within the Oversight Subcommittee, along with leveraging our oversight capacity to address the political extremism and turmoil of House Republicans, and continue working to protect our country’s democratic institutions in 2023 and beyond,” continued Clarke, said Congresswoman Clarke.

She said she will serve on the following committees in the 118th Congress: House Committee on Homeland Security; Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Subcommittee on Communications and Technology; Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce; and Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials.

In early December, the United States Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Clarke as its first vice chair.

Clarke was among top officials elected by CBC’s Executive Committee for the 118th US Congress.

Other top officials elected were: Congressman Steven Horsford, chairman, whose mother is Trinidadian-born; Congressman Troy Carter, second vice-chair; Congresswoman Lucy McBath, secretary; and Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland, whip.

“It has been the honor of my career to serve as the 9th woman to chair the Congressional Black Caucus,” said then CBC Chairwoman Joyce Beatty in a statement. “As the 117th Congress draws to a close, and I pass the baton to this dynamic group of dedicated leaders, I am confident our power and our message are in capable hands.”

Clarke – who serves as chair of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee in the US House of Representatives – thanked her CBC colleagues for their support, stating that she is “blessed” to be serving with them in the 118th Session of Congress.

“Serving on the Executive Committee of the Congressional Black Caucus in the 118th Congress is more than a privilege but an obligation that I do not take lightly,” she told Caribbean Life. “Each new Congress presents an opportunity for our 60-member-strong caucus to advance legislation and policy to address the myriad of persistent inequities that continue to impact Black communities across our country.

“Before us, today, countless new dimensions to these historic challenges continue to confront Congress, and we, as a caucus, must remain vigilant if we are to overcome them,” she added. “I have no doubt the dynamic talent and capabilities of our new Executive Committee will drive this truly extraordinary and remarkable caucus towards unseen heights and untold possibilities, from within the US Congress and beyond, into the many beloved communities that are integral to the strengthening and growth of our nation.

“I have no doubt that our members will continue to build upon the success of our predecessors, support and uplift the causes so vital to the advancement of people of African-decent,” Clarke continued. “Much in our nation and our Congress has changed since the days of bold and audacious actions from the likes of Shirley Chisholm and Charlie Rangel when they, alongside 11 of their Congressional colleagues, established the Congressional Black Caucus. What has not changed and will forever endure is the mission of this caucus.”

The late Chisholm (Nov. 30, 1924 – Jan. 1, 2005), whose parents hailed from Barbados and Guyana, became the first Black woman to be elected to the United States Congress in 1968.

She represented New York’s then 12th Congressional District, now parts of the 8th and 9th Congressional Districts in Brooklyn.

Chisholm was also first Black candidate for a major party nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Charles “Charlie” Rangel, who was born in Harlem on June 11, 1930, was the US representative for Harlem from 1971 to 2017.

A member of the Democratic Party, he was the second-longest serving incumbent member of the House of Representatives at the time of his retirement, serving continuously since 1971.

As its most senior member, Rangel was also the Dean of New York’s congressional delegation, and was the first African American chair of the influential US House Ways and Means Committee.

Clarke, who has been a member of the US Congress since 2007, said that, for decades, the CBC has provided “a voice to the voiceless and a platform for the marginalized.

“Though the vast majority of our members will find ourselves in the minority in this upcoming Congress, and though we are certain to face relentless obstruction, the mission will endure,” she assured. “And, ultimately, as long as we stay the course, we will prevail.

“I firmly believe that before us stands nothing but opportunity: the opportunity to lift up and advance policy that provides new opportunities for never-before-seen economic growth; the opportunity to liberate the disenfranchised from the shackles of their marginalization, voter disenfranchisement and a broken immigration system; the opportunity to create pathways and corridors towards their prosperity,” she added.

“Despite any political roadblocks, barricades and obstacles to our progress, those facts remain absolute,” continued Clarke, stating that, in the upcoming months, she looks forward to supporting the leadership and the work of (CBC) Chairman Horsford, as first vice-chair, during the 118th Congress.

“Today, as I prepare to once again take on the mantle of leadership within the CBC, I remain ever mindful that our caucus is ‘the Conscious of the Congress’”, she said. “My commitment to Black people, and the communities from which they hail, is unwavering and rooted in the ethos established by my predecessor and founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the late Hon. Shirley Chisholm.

“It’s a pledge that has long guided my career and my own life: to remain ‘unbought and unbossed,’” declared Clarke, using Chisholm’s catch phrase.

Since its establishment in 1971, the CBC said it has been “committed to using the full Constitutional power, statutory authority and financial resources of the federal government to ensure that African Americans and other marginalized communities in the United States have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”

As part of this commitment, the CBC said it has “fought for the past 51 years to empower these citizens and address their legislative concerns.”