Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi can add another yes vote in her quest to win election as speaker of the House in January.
Alabama 7th District U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell has announced that she will support Pelosi on Jan. 3, when the new Congress convenes and votes for a new speaker.
“I’m a supporter of Nancy Pelosi,” Sewell said in a CNN interview on Saturday. “And I believe that the trifecta of leadership that brought us the House majority should be the leaders in the new Congress. So, I’ll be voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker and Steny Hoyer for majority leader, and of course, my dear friend and colleague Jim Clyburn for majority whip.”
Sewell’s support brings Pelosi one step closer to her goal of 218 votes — half of the House of Representatives — in order to become speaker once more. Pelosi previously held the position from 2007 to 2011, when Democrats were in the majority.
Following the Nov. 7 midterm election, Pelosi she sent letters to members of the House asking for their votes and sharing her vision for the next two years.
“My vision for the next two years is to restore the House to the role it should have as a strong and independent voice for the American people, and maximize the ability and the creativity of our entire Caucus,” she wrote in the letter. ” In that spirit, I am writing to respectfully request your support for Speaker, and do so with confidence and humility. Thank you for your consideration.”
On Monday, a bloc of 16 Democrats released a letter saying they’ll vote for “new leadership” when the House picks leaders in January, making Pelosi’s road to Speaker more difficult. Democrats hold a 232 person majority in the 435 member U.S. House of Representatives, meaning only 14 can defect and Pelosi still be elected Speaker.
But Sewell believes the Democrats will ultimately come together and coalesce around Pelosi.
“Leadership elections are often messy but I think at the end of the day the Democratic Party will come together. Our caucus will come together behind the leadership that has led us to the majority, the current leadership, and that we will move forward on behalf of the American people,” Sewell told CNN. “But I do believe that it’s important that we have the stable leadership that we currently have leading us forward. We need to be ready, day one, when we take back the House, to roll up our sleeves and fight to protect preexisting conditions, to make sure that we lower drug costs for the American people.”
Sewell is also running for leadership in the new Congress. Following the election, she announced her bid for Caucus Leadership Representative, a leadership position reserved for Members who have served five terms or less.
“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,” said Sewell. “We need a diversity of voices at the leadership table that reflect both geographical and ideological perspectives.”