Colorado’s Joe Neguse gets new leadership role in next Congress

Joe Neguse
Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., speaks during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on the constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.

Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse has moved up the Democratic House leadership ladder. 

He was elected chair of the Democratic Policy and Communication Committee (DPCC), the communications arms for House Democrats, for the 118th Congress. 

The Lafyette Democrat said he’s honored to have been elected and is excited about the road ahead.

“The messaging arm plays a really pivotal role within our House Democratic caucus because it ultimately helps our caucus develop and disseminate [a] message that resonates with the American people,” he said.

Neguse has been a member of the Democratic leadership team since his first day in office. First as co-freshman rep in the 116th Congress, and then as a co-chair of the DPCC in the 117th Congress. 

Now Neguse will be in the higher echelons of leadership. He’s the highest ranking member of House leadership from Colorado in years and ran unopposed for the so-called “chair of the chairs” job and was elected “by acclamation.”

Caitlyn Kim/CPR News
Rep. Joe Neguse receives congratulations from a colleague after being elected chair or the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee for the 118th Congress on Dec. 1, 2022.

In the 118th Congress, House Democrats will have a new generation of leaders. The caucus elected New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries its leader, making him the minority leader. 

Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark was elected whip, and California Rep. Pete Aguilar was elected chair of the Democratic Caucus. 

Neguse said it was important to him to have someone from the Rocky Mountain West at the leadership table and one of the reasons he ran for the job.

“I think that we have a unique entrepreneurial spirit in our state. And that is something that I intend to bring to my role as the chair of the DPCC,” he said. 

He added his leadership role will ensure there is a focus on issues unique to the region. 

“For example, the unprecedented drought that we're experiencing, the rise of wildfires and other climate fuel disasters,” he said. “And so ensuring that there's a voice at the table that advocates for the 45 million Americans that live in the Rocky Mountain West who are impacted by those range of issues. I think it's important.”

One member of the old generation of House Democratic leadership will also stay on. South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn will be the assistant leader. 

That decision led to some reshuffling, including for Neguse. He originally announced his intention to run for the Caucus chair job. The caucus decided to bring back the so-called chair of the chairs position within the DPCC for Neguse to avoid a Neguse-Aguilar fight over the caucus chair slot.

Neguse said given the stakes ahead, he felt he was best positioned to help House Democrats by leading the messaging arm.

“Because messaging is going to be such a critical component of our success going into the 118th Congress,” Neguse said. “The Republicans have a very slim majority and our ability to effectively communicate our work to the American people — and ultimately why it matters — I think will play a dominant role in our ability to regain our majority [in 2024].”

The last Coloradan to make a top leadership bid in the chamber was Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette. In November 2018, she announced a challenge to Clyburn for the whip position, the chief vote counter, for the 116th Congress, but ultimately she withdrew from the race.