Rep. Diana DeGette at the Democratic election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

 

Meredith Turk/CPR News

The longest-serving member of Colorado’s congressional delegation hopes to enter the spotlight of party leadership.

Democrat Diana DeGette announced Wednesday that she is pursuing the role of House Majority Whip. DeGette also said she is planning to push for greater investigation into President Donald Trump, in particular to secure the release of the President’s tax returns in light of the Republican tax cuts.

“It’s really important to know if these laws that he’s promoting benefit him personally,” Democrat Diana DeGette said. “The only way to do that is to get his tax returns.”

Trump has opted not to follow the precedent to release his returns, saying pending litigation prevents him from doing so.

DeGette also said she wants to pressure the President to better enforce environmental regulations and healthcare policy, as well as to curtail his use of executive actions.

“We need to be responsible, we need to be respectful, but we need to issue those subpoenas,” she said.

DeGette easily won reelection Tuesday night to Colorado’s 1st Congressional District. She is now hoping to secure a more prominent role in the newly Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

DeGette is vying to become the House Majority Whip, after serving as Chief Deputy Whip for her past seven terms. She said this would make her the first representative from the Rocky Mountain region to enter top House leadership, which she believes would help her constituents.

“I would be much more attuned to transportation issues, to public lands issues, to the issues that we have here in the West,” she said.

DeGette was first elected to her seat in 1997.

Majority Whip will be an important role in the slim new House Majority. The whip is responsible for keeping the party caucus together to pass legislation.

“It’s easy to be whip when you’re in the minority,” DeGette told the Denver Post. “We need to have someone who can work across the caucus.”

DeGette will join incumbent Reps. Ken Buck (R), Doug Lamborn (R), Ed Perlmutter (D), and Scott Tipton (R) in the House, as well as newcomers Jason Crow and Joe Neguse, both Democrats.

Crow, who defeated five-term Republican incumbent Mike Coffman, told Colorado Matters on election night that his win signifies voters are ready for a new generation of leadership.

“We do need folks who have not been spending the last 10, 15, 20 years in Washington, fighting its political games. We do need those new folks that can actually step it up and get it done,” Crow said.

In response, DeGette—now a 20-year veteran of Congress—said that she does represent the “new” generation of House leadership.

“I’m a whole generation younger than Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn, who are the top three Democratic leaders right now,” she said. “One thing about being a whip is you have to know how Congress works … It’s kind of a good balance because I’m actually the breath of fresh air, but I’ve been there long enough so I actually know how to pass legislation.”

Clyburn, a 13-term representative from South Carolina, is also running for the Majority Whip post.