Congressional Black Caucus for the next two years, increasing her visibility and maybe her clout.
As head of the caucus, Fudge will become a spokeswoman for black Americans in Congress and across the country. “It automatically gives her a leadership role in Congress,” Louis Stokes, the other Clevelander to have held the position, told the Plain Dealer.
Winning the post is a reversal of fortune for Fudge, who’s been in Congress since 2008. A year ago, she was facing an aggressive primary challenger, state Sen. Nina Turner. But Fudge wasn’t as weak as Turner thought; she announced her reelection campaign with most every big local Democrat united behind her, and Turner backed down.
Fudge sounded like Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson yesterday when she said the Black Caucus focuses on “the least of these,” meaning the needy – though they’re both referring to one of Jesus’ teachings in the Gospel of Matthew. The caucus, which held a job fair in Cleveland this summer as part of its focus on lowering unemployment, is expected to defend Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the upcoming negotiations on the fiscal cliff.
Speaking for the Black Caucus (which is growing from 40 to 43 members next year) will surely increase Fudge’s visibility, but what about her clout? Seniority matters a lot in Congress, and Fudge doesn’t have much of it. Will the chairmanship give her a shortcut to power, and influence on Cleveland’s behalf? Maybe, Fudge seems to think. “It puts me to some degree in position to talk to the leadership more often,” she told the PD’s Sabrina Eaton.
Links to our past coverage of Marcia Fudge:
-My Most Interesting People interview with her after her election to Congress.
-Mansfield Frazier’s 2010 commentary on her growing role as a player in local Democratic politics.
-Afi-Odelia Scruggs’ profile of Fudge from 2007, when she was mayor of Warrensville Heights.