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Minnesota, Wisconsin Lead Nation in Largest Proportion of House Committee Leadership Posts

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U.S. Representative John Kline's (MN-02) election this week as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor further established the Gopher State's House delegation as one of the most powerful in the nation.

Minnesota now has 3 of its 8 U.S. Representatives holding chairmanships or the ranking member position in the two dozen U.S. House committees (including joint and select committees). James Oberstar (MN-08) chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee while Collin Peterson (MN-07) chairs the Committee on Agriculture.

With 37.5 percent of its House membership now holding such committee leadership positions, Minnesota ties Wisconsin for the highest proportion of its House delegation to hold chairmanships or ranking member status across all 50 states.

Long-serving Wisconsin Representative David Obey (WI-07) chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee, emerging Republican leader Paul Ryan (WI-01) is the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee, and GOPer James Sensenbrenner (WI-05) is the Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Wisconsin also has an 8-member delegation to the House.

Overall, Minnesota and Wisconsin are tied with Michigan with the fourth largest absolute number of chairmanships and ranking memberships, behind California with 10 (18.9 percent of its delegation), New York with 7 (24.1 percent), and Texas with 5 (15.6 percent). Michigan, however, has a 15-member delegation, so only 20.0 percent of its representatives hold such leadership posts.

Smart Politics recently profiled Representatives Oberstar and Obey as two of the biggest power brokers on Capitol Hill.

With several recently-elected Representatives in Minnesota (Erik Paulsen, Keith Ellison, Michele Bachmann, Tim Walz) and Wisconsin (Gwen Moore, Steven Kagen) the Gopher and Badger States may have reached their peak with the 111th Congress in terms of the largest number of committee leadership positions held by each state.

Highest Proportion of U.S. House Delegations with Committee Chairs or Ranking Members by State

State
Positions
Delegation
Percent
Minnesota
3
8
37.5
Wisconsin
3
8
37.5
West Virginia
1
3
33.3
Alabama
2
7
28.6
Mississippi
1
4
25.0
New York
7
29
24.1
Missouri
2
9
22.2
Michigan
3
15
20.0
Massachusetts
2
10
20.0
Oklahoma
1
5
20.0
California
10
53
18.9
South Carolina
1
6
16.7
Texas
5
32
15.6
Tennessee
1
9
11.1
Indiana
1
9
11.1
Washington
1
9
11.1
Florida
2
25
8.0
Pennsylvania
1
19
5.3
Note: Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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