Key transportation committee members retain seats in House, Senate

| 11/5/2008

The general election of 2008 didn’t shake things up very much in the two congressional committees that wrangle with transportation issues.

“Overall, the Democrats’ increased majority in the House and the Senate presents us with new opportunities, but also new challenges as well,” said Rod Nofziger, OOIDA’s director of government affairs.

Only five members – one Democrat and four Republicans – of the powerful House and Transportation Infrastructure Committee will not be returning to Congress next year. One race remained too close to call as of late Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 5.

Only one member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee lost his bid for re-election. Two other races remained too close to call Wednesday afternoon.

The several members of the House T&I Committee who have sponsored several pieces of legislation backed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association all won their bids for re-election. They include Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar; Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Peter DeFazio; Ranking Member John Mica; and Rep. John J. Duncan Jr.

On the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, many lawmakers who have been sympathetic to the plight of truckers and sponsored legislation backed by OOIDA were also re-elected to Congress. Some of those members include Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-NJ, and Sen. Mark L. Pryor, R-AR,. Several other supporters of causes backed by the Association – for example, Sens. Byron L. Dorgan, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Olympia Snowe – were not up for re-election.

Although only a few members of the two committees won’t be returning to Congress next year, that does not mean that the committees won’t be changing. After the new Congress is seated, the Democrat and Republican leaders will make committee assignments. So changes could occur.

The changes more than likely won’t be huge, though.

“With the exception of some contests in Alaska, results of Tuesday’s elections will not likely have a dramatic impact on the membership of the House or Senate committees that have jurisdiction over trucking and highway policy matters,” Nofziger said.

It’s also important to note that there could be a potential shakeup in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Sen. Ted Stevens’ recent conviction led to him stepping down off the committee. Pending his re-election and the outcome of any appeals process on his conviction, he could return to the committee. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is currently the acting ranking member of the committee.

The following is a complete list of the current members of the two congressional committees with those who are in races too close to call and who lost their bid for re-election noted.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Democrats (41 members)
James L. Oberstar, D-Minnesota, chairman
Nick J. Rahall II, D-West Virginia
Peter A. DeFazio, D-Oregon
Jerry F. Costello, D-Illinois
Eleanor H. Norton, D-District of Columbia
Jerrold L. Nadler, D-New York
Corrine Brown, D-Florida
Bob Filner, D-California
Eddie B. Johnson, D-Texas
Gene Taylor, D-Mississippi
Elijah E. Cummings, D-Maryland
Ellen O. Tauscher, D-California
Leonard L. Boswell, D-Iowa
Tim Holden, D-Pennsylvania
Brian N. Baird, D-Washington
Rick Larsen, D-Washington
Michael E. Capuano, D-Massachusetts
Timothy H. Bishop, D-New York
Michael H. Michaud, D-Maine
Brian M. Higgins, D-New York
Russ Carnahan, D-Missouri
John T. Salazar, D-Colorado
Grace F. Napolitano, D-California
Daniel W. Lipinski, D-Illinois
* Nicholas V. Lampson, D-Texas
Zachary T. Space, D-Ohio
Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii
Bruce Braley, D-Iowa
Jason Altmire, D-Pennsylvania
Timothy J. Walz, D-Minnesota
Heath Shuler, D-North Carolina
Michael A. Arcuri, D-New York
Harry E. Mitchell, D-Arizona
Christopher P. Carney, D-Pennsylvania
John J. Hall, D-New York
Steven L. Kagen, D-Wisconsin
Stephen I. Cohen, D-Tennessee
Gerald McNerney, D-California
Laura Richardson, D-California
Albio Sires, D-New Jersey
Donna F. Edwards, D-Maryland
Republicans (34 members)
John L. Mica, R-Florida, Ranking Member
** Donald E. Young, R-Alaska
Thomas E. Petri, R-Wisconsin
John H. Coble, R-North Carolina
John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tennessee
* Wayne T. Gilchrest, R-Maryland
Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Michigan
Steven C. LaTourette, R-Ohio
Frank A. LoBiondo, R-New Jersey
Jerry Moran, R-Kansas
Gary G. Miller, R-California
* Robert C. Hayes, R-North Carolina
Henry E. Brown Jr., R-South Carolina
Timothy V. Johnson, R-Illinois
Todd R. Platts, R-Pennsylvania
Samuel B. Graves, R-Missouri
Bill Shuster, R-Pennsylvania
John N. Boozman, R-Arkansas
Shelley M. Capito, R-West Virginia
Jim Gerlach, R-Pennsylvania
Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida
Charles W. Dent, R-Pennsylvania
Ted Poe, R-Texas
** David G. Reichert, R-Washington
Connie Mack IV, R-Florida
* John R. Kuhl Jr., R-New York
Lynn A. Westmoreland, R-Georgia
Charles W. Boustany Jr., R-Louisiana
Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio
Candice S. Miller, R-Michigan
* Thelma D. Drake, R-Virginia
Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma
Vern Buchanan, R-Florida
Robert E. Latta, R-Ohio

* Lost bid for re-election
** Too close to call

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
Democrats (12 members)
Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii
John D. Rockefeller IV, D-West Virginia
John F. Kerry, D-Massachusetts
Byron L. Dorgan, D-North Dakota
Barbara Boxer, D-California
Bill Nelson Sr., D-Florida
Maria Cantwell, D-Washington
Frank R. Lautenberg, D-New Jersey
Mark L. Pryor, D-Arkansas
Thomas R. Carper, D-Delaware
Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri
Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota
Republican (10 members)
Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, acting ranking member
John S. McCain III, R-Arizona
Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine
** Gordon H. Smith, R-Oregon
John E. Ensign, R-Nevada
* John E. Sununu, R-New Hampshire
Jim W. DeMint, R-South Carolina
David B. Vitter, R-Louisiana
John R. Thune, R-South Dakota
Roger F. Wicker, R-Mississippi

* Lost bid for re-election
** Too close to call

– By Jami Jones, senior editor