It’s been quite a year for Congressman Norm Dicks. In the span of a few months, the longtime Representative from the Kitsap Peninsula has quickly gone from high profile Democratic leader to highest profile. Dicks had long served on the House’s Appropriations Committee, as Chair of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as serving as the second higherst ranking member of the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Earlier this year, Rep. John “Jack” Murtha (D-PA) unexpectedly passed away, which moved Rep. Dicks into the position of Chair of the Defense Subcommittee.
Just as he started to get comfortable in his new role as Chair, another bombshell dropped today. The current chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. David Obey (D-WI) annouced that he will not run for re-election in 2010. This leaves Dicks, the number two ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, as the next most senior member. While seniority isn’t everything in the House, it means quite a lot. If seniority rules (and if the Democrats keep control of the House in 2010), we could see Congressman Dicks ascend to the head of the most powerful committee in Congress. That said, it appears as though Dicks may already have some competition for the spot, so this is nowhere near a done deal.
Some of you who are a little tired of politics (or don’t care at all) may wonder why this matters to us? Here’s the quick and dirty:
The Pacific Northwest has never been synonymous with Defense. That’s why PNDC exists, and why I’m here blogging at 6pm on a Wednesday. Congressman Dicks has been in the House since 1977, and has been championing Defense-related causes for many years. For the first time in a long, LONG time, the Pentagon is going to be paying close attention to what’s happening out here in the Great Northwest. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican… that’s something I could definitely get behind.