Politics

House Freedom Caucus Elects Board Members, Meadows to Run for Chairman

Brat, Hice and Perry replace Garrett, Fleming and Salmon on board

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, left, is running for House Freedom Caucus chairman since Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan has decided not to seek another term atop the conservative caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Freedom Caucus elected three new board members Tuesday night, as North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows announced he plans to run for caucus chairman. 

Current caucus head, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who has led the conservative group since it’s inception in early 2015, told Roll Call he does not plan to seek another term as chairman. 

The nine-member Freedom Caucus board has to accept Meadows’ candidacy and formally nominate him before he can be elected by the full caucus. He is not expected to be challenged for the position. 

“I’m hopeful to earn the support of the board in carrying on the fine work that Chairman Jim Jordan has demonstrated over the last two years and put a real focus on a policy-driven agenda that will truly represent the will of the American people,” Meadows said. 

The Freedom Caucus holds an election for chairman every year, as well as three of the nine board positions, which are on a rotating election schedule. 

During Tuesday night’s vote, there were four open board spots since New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett lost his bid for re-election. 

The new members elected to the board were Reps. David Brat of Virginia, Jody Hice of Georgia and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. They will replace Garrett, Louisiana Rep. John Fleming, who lost a bid for Senate, and Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon, who is retiring. 

Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina was also re-elected to the board.

“I just think this group — as much as any other — is trying to do what the American people want done,” Brat said, explaining why he wanted to join the Freedom Caucus leadership. 

“The election we just had mirrors the issues we’ve been pushing,” he added. 

The Freedom Caucus has a reputation for bucking leadership and preventing legislation from moving forward but that’s not the group’s goal, said Brat, who is best known for upsetting former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to win his seat in Virginia’s 7th District. 

“People call us obstructionists. We were obstructionists to bad policy,” he said. “You wait till you see us this year. We were outsiders. We mirrored the outsider push against D.C. on behalf of this forgotten man — the average American. And so we’re ahead of the curve.”

With President-elect Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans retaining control of Congress, Brat said the Freedom Caucus will be much more productive this year.

“We’re going to get to yes on good policy,” he said. “We’ll be no on bad policy and we’re yes on good policy.” 

Hice said he’s honored to be part of the Freedom Caucus board at a time when the American people have signaled they’re ready for change. 

“Historically, the Freedom Caucus has been a voice for Americans who feel like they have no voice in Washington,” he said. “Now the people have made a voice through the election, and hopefully, we’ll be able to move that ball forward.”

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