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updated: 11/30/2010 10:43 AM

Roskam nabs GOP leadership post

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  • U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam

      U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam

 
By Kerry Lester

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton was appointed Monday to a top Republican leadership position in Congress.

Roskam will serve as chief deputy whip for incoming Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy, his colleague in the House for the past four years.

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"Whips" are chief vote counters for their parties in both the House and Senate. Their chief deputies are charged with garnering votes for legislation, working to keep the party unified, and serving as go-to persons on policy questions.

The position, particularly among Republicans, has been looked at as a path to other key jobs.

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Plano Republican, served as chief deputy whip from 1995 to 1998 before becoming Speaker of the House in 1999.

"My good friend Peter Roskam is a bold leader whose fresh ideas will continue to help energize the Republican Party as we move forward in the majority," McCarthy said in a statement.

Roskam noted he was looking forward to advancing a "positive agenda" for innovation, investment and growth. "For too long, under the control of both parties, Washington has borrowed and spent too much money, jeopardizing our nation's prosperity and our children's future," he said.

A member of the Ways and Means Committee, Roskam has served in leadership positions on Republican projects such as America Speaking Out, a House Republican web forum; and Pledge to America, which sets forth Congressional Republicans' governing agenda. A staunch conservative, he has nonetheless developed a reputation for reaching across the aisle including working with President Obama on death penalty reform while they served together in the state Senate.

More recently, at a meeting with the House Republican Conference in January, Obama agreed with Roskam that advancing the South Korea free trade agreement is critical to expanding markets for American manufacturers.

When Roskam and McCarthy were first elected to the House in 2006, they were part of the smallest Republican class in nearly a century.

Roskam narrowly defeated Democratic veteran Tammy Duckworth in 2008. He was re-elected this fall with nearly 60 percent of the vote in DuPage County's sixth district.

His appointment begins in January.

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