The change of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives resulting from Tuesday's mid-term elections cut a wide swath through the ranks of the House Agriculture Committee. Sixteen of the current 28 members of the Democratic majority on the committee lost their seats in the elections. Rep. Frank Lucas (Okla.) is expected to take over the chairmanship of the committee from Rep. Colin Peterson (Minn.) when it convenes in January. Peterson won re-election in Minnesota and will likely remain on the committee as ranking minority member.
Those democratic members that will not be returning to the House Agriculture Committee in 2011 include Jim Marshall (Ga.); Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (S.D.); Jim Costa (Calif.); Brad Ellsworth (Ind.); Steve Kagen (Wis.); Deborah Halverson (Ill.); Kathleen Dahlkemper (Penn.); Bobby Bright (Ala.); Betsy Markey (Colo.); Frank Katrovil (Md.); Mark Schauer (Mich.); John Boccieri (Ohio); Scott Murphy (N.Y.); Earl Pomeroy (N.D.); Travis Childers (Miss.); and Walt Minnick (Idaho). No republican committee members lost their seats; however, Rep. Jerry Moran (Kan.) will be moving on to the Senate.
The Senate Agriculture Committee majority will not change but its leadership will as a result of Chairman Blanche Lincoln's loss in Arkansas. This means someone new will occupy the chair with the most probable candidate being Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.). While she is behind four other lawmakers in terms of seniority, those lawmakers will likely each opt to keep their current posts atop other committees -- Pat Leahy (Vt.), Judiciary; Tom Harkin (Iowa), Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Kent Conrad (N.D.), Budget; and Max Baucus (Mont.), Finance.
Reprinted in part from Livestock Marketing Association