BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark is continuing her climb through the ranks of the Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill.
The 57-year-old Melrose Democrat was elected Wednesday to the position of assistant speaker. That makes her the fourth-ranking member in the chamber, which remains in the hands of Democrats for another two years.
Clark defeated Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline in party leadership elections. The 59-year-old Cicilline was vying for the same post.
To prevent lawmakers from crowding unsafely into one room during the pandemic, Democrats’ leadership candidates delivered remarks to scattered lawmakers using Zoom.
Clark, who represents the state’s 5th Congressional District, said Democrats are committed to “eliminating the virus, aiding families, and recharging our economy in the face of this pandemic” — but said the work can’t end there.
“This is the moment for America to unite together and finally build a nation that fulfills our promise of justice for all. We cannot settle for normal, but must instead expand the parameters of prosperity to ensure everyone has the same opportunities for success,” Clark said in a statement following her election.
“As Assistant Speaker, my work will be guided by everyday Americans who have stood up this year to protect and strengthen our nation,” she added.
Cicilline, who was first elected to the House in 2010, congratulated Clark on her elevation in the House.
“I look forward to working with you as you begin serving as our next Assistant Speaker,” Cicilline wrote on Twitter.
Clark’s rise in the chamber has been swift.
She was first elected to the House in 2013 in a special election to fill the seat belonging to U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, who had won a special election to fill a Senate seat left vacant by John Kerry’s appointment as secretary of state by former President Barack Obama.
Clark previously served in the Massachusetts House and Senate.
The election of Clark to the Democratic post in the House came as House Democrats also nominated Nancy Pelosi as the speaker to lead them into Joe Biden’s presidency,
Pelosi, who was unopposed, seemed to suggest that these would be her final two years in the post, leaving open the possibility of a further reshuffling of Democratic leadership in the near future.