GOP struggles with diversity test on powerful finance panel

“I’ve always said the Republican Party is the Grand Opportunity Party,” said Kim, who changed a seat in the House of Representatives to control of the GOP in 2020. “If someone like me has the women’s perspective, the small business perspective, the immigrant perspective – the appreciation will go a long way when it comes to legislating and creating policies that create jobs.”

The selections, which the House of Representatives GOP Steering Committee will consider on Monday, could be an important indicator of how much the party values ​​diversity. Republican leaders are under increasing pressure to expand representation of women and people of color in the party as they seek to retake the House of Representatives in the November 2022 elections.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who launched the “Year of Republican Women” after Californian compatriot Kim and other Republicans won the House seats in November, has four votes on the committee that will select the new member of financial services.

“We’re stronger because of our diversity,” McCarthy said after last year’s election. A McCarthy spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the story.

Republicans say they have to make the choice because the Democrats who control the House of Representatives decided at the beginning of this Congress to reduce the size of the Financial Services Committee by six seats to prevent the GOP from filling the body a more diverse group of members.

The Democrats shrank the committee chaired by Chair Maxine Waters, D-Calif., After discovering that its number – 60 members in the last Congress – was unwieldy. The predominantly white, male Republican side of the body today has only one female member and two Hispanic men.

“Unfortunately, Spokesman Pelosis’ decision earlier this year to downsize the committee forced seniority and diversity to choose,” said Stephen Cote, a former GOP HR director for the financial services board who is now a director of lobbying firm Mehlman Castagnetti.

Waters, who became the Chair of the Financial Services Committee in 2019, has established a diversity subcommittee and has focused her agenda on expanding economic opportunities for underserved communities.

Because of its decades of membership in Congress, sessions are the focus of the race. He chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee and chaired the House Rules Committee before losing his long-standing Dallas seat in 2018. He returned to Washington that year as a district representative for Waco, Texas. He declined to be interviewed for this story before the steering committee made its decision.

Representatives Ralph Norman (RS.C.) and Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) Are also vying for the seat. Both praise their business backgrounds, with Norman working as a real estate developer for four decades and Meuser serving as the president of a manufacturing company before joining the Secretary of the Treasury of Pennsylvania was appointed. Meuser also argues that the committee needs more representation from the Northeast.

You must stand up to the candidacies of younger members Kim and Donald, who were first elected to Congress last November.

Kim is an immigrant who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2020 as one of the first Korean-American women. Prior to joining Congress and serving in the California State Assembly, she was an advisor to now retired Ed Royce, R-Calif., A senior member of the Financial Services Committee. She also worked as a financial analyst and owned a women’s clothing company.

Kim would double the female representation on the GOP Financial Services Committee while serving as the only Asian-American Republican and the only Republican in the western state.

“I made it very, very clear that it was important to represent the western states,” she said in an interview. “It’s important because my district is made up of three counties – Orange, LA, and San Bernardino – and we have dozens of thousands of Asian-American small businesses, credit unions, and financial institutions. But we have no voices or advocates to speak for them. “

Royce said his former committee would be well served by adding Kim to his ranks.

“She is an immigrant, she is a mother, she is from a western state and has experience in financial services,” he said. “I think that’s called a grand slam.”

Before winning a seat in the House of Representatives last year, Donalds worked in Florida finance and served in the Florida House of Representatives. He’s one of only two black Republicans in the House of Representatives, but he said diversity wasn’t part of his pitch for the Financial Services Committee.

“I don’t get lost in anything like that,” he said. “I let other people take care of it. The reason I think I should get in is because I have the qualifications to do it. Someone with my background in many ways should be a newcomer.”

Another argument in favor of Kim or Donalds is that both would likely receive a significant fundraising boost on Wall Street on the committee as Republicans try to keep their seats in the 2022 election. But Republicans are also increasingly optimistic about winning back a majority in the House of Representatives next year, which would give the newcomers one more opportunity to serve.

“If they do their job well, they’ll all be on the committee for the next 18 months,” said Sam Geduldig, a former Republican House Financial Services employee who is now co-CEO of lobbying firm CGCN.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Republican leader in financial services, said the GOP has “highly skilled, talented Republicans who will be great additions to the committee.”

“It’s an embarrassment of being rich,” he said.

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