On Monday, Jan. 3, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) hosted a time honored tradition in the realm of African-American politics with its ceremonial swearing-in for the 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in the Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol.
Rep.Marcia Fudge of Ohio took the gavel as the 23rd CBC chair, succeeding Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri. Rep. Fudge is in her third congressional term and serves as ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture’s Department Operations, Oversight and Credit subcommittee. Rep. Fudge also serves as a member of the Conservation, Energy and Forestry subcommittee, and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Science and Technology, Research and Science Education and Space and Aeronautics subcommittees.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate and honor the members of congress who provide assistance, opportunity and mentoring to all Americans,” said Krisa Haggins, interim president and chief executive officer for CBCF. “The ceremonial swearing-in also highlights the advances African Americans have made and brings to the forefront our tradition of being civically engaged in our communities.”
Five newly elected members joined the CBC: Joyce Beatty of Ohio; Steve Horsford of Nevada; Hakeem Jeffries of New York; Donald Payne, Jr. of New Jersey and Marc Veasey of Texas. African Americans compose 10 percent of the 113th Congress.
One hundred twenty seven African Americans have been elected to Congress during the past 40 years including former CBC member and current President Barack Obama. There are 13 African-American women in Congress, representing approximately 13 percent of all women representatives. The election of the new members coupled with the returning CBC members will provide even more opportunity for the Foundation to offer the next generation of public servants an array of experiences in the public policy arena.
“For almost four decades the CBCF has placed our interns and fellows in CBC member and committee offices,” said Haggins. “As the result of both strong congressional support and through our stellar leadership programs we now have Foundation alumni working in congressional and committee offices and throughout federal agencies, changing the landscape on the Hill.”
“I look forward to working with the CBCF staff during the 113th Session of the United States Congress,” said CBC Chairwoman-elect. Fudge. “For almost four decades, the Foundation has provided African Americans with exceptional opportunities to become engaged and learn the inner workings of our democracy. I am committed to working with the Foundation to ensure that the unique contribution the organization makes to our political, economic and educational landscape is preserved for future generations to come.”
This event was captured and documented for its historical attributes through the Foundation’s Avoice project. The site is a premier online central depository of information about historical and contemporary African-American policy issues important to researchers, academics, educators and students.
Rep. Fudge is joined by Reps. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina as first vice chair, Yvette D. Clarke of New York as second vice chair, André Carson of Indiana as secretary and Karen Bass of California as whip of the CBC.
Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland delivered brief remarks at the ceremony.