First Coast Connect: Jacksonville’s Freshmen Congress Unlikely To Hold Influence

Sep 13, 2016

With the retirement of Ander Crenshaw and the primary defeat of Corrine Brown, Jacksonville will be sending two rookies to Washington when the new Congress convenes in January.

Republican Rep. Crenshaw has been in Congress since 2001. He is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Democrat Brown has been in Washington since 1995 and sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is the ranking Democrat on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee.

Appearing on First Coast Connect Tuesday, Jacksonville University Political Science Professor Emeritus Stephen Baker said whomever wins the seats in November will have a bit of a learning curve to figure out how work gets done in Congress.

Baker said however that while seniority has its place in Congress, it’s not as significant as it used to be.

“In the past seniority was the way you moved up the committee structure, nowadays there’s a variety of others ways,” he said. “It’s your ability to raise money for the re-elections that enables you to move up.”

Baker said the new members of Congress would be wise to work with House staff members and others who have experience in Washington.

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at kmeerschaert@wjct.org, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax