MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The day after Democrats took over the U.S. House for the first time in nearly a decade, Alabama’s only Democratic U.S. representative is looking to join her party’s leadership ranks.
Terri Sewell announced Wednesday that she’ll make a bid for Caucus Leadership Representative, a position for members who have served five or fewer terms in the U.S. House.
Sewell has represented the state’s 7th District since 2010 and is holding one of the safest - if not the safest - seats in the House. She won her election Tuesday night unopposed and will begin her fifth term with the new Congress.
“As a Southern Democrat who represents the urban and rural heartland, I know that our party needs to engage progressive, moderate, and conservative communities in order to build a winning coalition,” Sewell said, calling for a "diversity of voices at the leadership table that reflect both geographical and ideological perspectives."
The letter she wrote announcing her intention to seek a leadership role reads:
Dear Democratic Colleagues:
After Tuesday’s election-night victory, Democrats have an opportunity for the first time in a decade to refocus Congress on the needs of America’s working families. As the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives charts a course forward, I am seeking your support for my candidacy for Caucus Leadership Representative, a leadership position reserved for Members who have served five terms or less.
As a Democrat from Alabama, I have practical experience working to win over progressive, moderate, and conservative communities where independent and swing voters decide elections. My experience campaigning for Senator Doug Jones in Alabama’s 2017 special election taught me that with the right message, Democrats can win in districts across the country and that American voters prefer bipartisan, commonsense solutions over divisive rhetoric. By staying laser-focused on our fight for better jobs, access to quality and affordable healthcare, and an economy that works for all Americans, I believe Democrats can champion the needs of voters from our rural communities to our bustling cities.
This past Congress, I had the honor of serving as a Vice Chair of the New Democrat Coalition, a Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Caucus, a Member of the Steering and Policy Committee, and as Co-Chair of the Voting Rights Caucus. Through these roles, I have elevated our fight for healthcare access in rural and underserved communities, made democracy reforms a top national priority, and fought for tax and trade policies that put our working families and workers first.
As a Member of the Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), I have worked to hold President Trump accountable. I have fought for a fairer and more equitable tax code, and a full investigation of Russia’s attack on our democracy. I have worked to secure our elections against future cyberattacks and other threats. I believe the integrity of our elections and the health of our democratic institutions must remain a chief concern, and that in the majority, Democrats will be well positioned not only to conduct necessary oversight but to pass legislation aimed at strengthening our democracy.
In order to build an agenda that unifies our Members and works across the country, I believe that our Caucus must work to engage with all House Democrats regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum. As Caucus Leadership Representative, I would reach out to the newest Members of our Caucus and work with our more experienced Members to stay up-to-date on the changing political landscape of districts across the country. With Member input, I believe the Democratic Caucus can win over American voters across the country and across ideologies with our fight for working families.
The values I would bring to the Caucus Leadership Representative position are anchored in my upbringing in Selma, Alabama. Growing up in a community where so many foot soldiers fought, bled, and died for our right to vote, I learned at a young age the importance of being civically engaged, speaking out for what’s right, and fighting for our most sacred American values. As the daughter of a librarian and a public-school teacher, my parents taught me what it means to make sure no one gets left behind. Before coming to Congress, I spent over a decade practicing law, and distinguished myself as one of the only black public finance lawyers in the State of Alabama.
Those are the values and experiences that shaped my first run for Congress in 2010 and which continue to inform my fight for economic growth, access to healthcare, and a democracy where all voters have a fair voice. As Caucus Leadership Representative, I would bring these values and my experiences in a diverse set of communities to the table.
I would be honored to win your support for Caucus Leadership Representative, and I look forward to discussing my candidacy with you over the coming days and weeks. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Member of Congress
Sewell currently serves as Vice Chair of the New Democrat Coalition, as a Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Caucus, as a Member of the Steering and Policy Committee, and as Co-Chair of the Voting Rights Caucus.