Midwestern House Democrats Form “Heartland Caucus”

January 25, 2023

On Wednesday Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) announced the launch of the Heartland Caucus, comprised of Democratic Representatives from the middle of the country.

The move comes after House Democrats elected all East- and West-coasters to their leadership in the 118th Congress: Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY), Whip Katherine Clark (MA), Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (CA), Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC), and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Ted Lieu (CA).

The Heartland Caucus is composed largely of members from the Great Lakes region seeking to remind their party leaders that they are “not fly-over country,” as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and several others put it. 

“Part of our challenge is, we have no one from the leadership in any position, said Rep Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). “So this is one of the realities that we face over and over and again.” 

The caucus so far includes members like Reps. Rasida Tlaib (D-MI) and Mike Quigley (D-IL). Rep. Brian Higgins, who represents Buffalo, NY, has expressed interest in joining, although he was not present at the group’s news conference.

Caucus leaders said they anticipate about 40 members joining altogether. They listed manufacturing, labor, rural health care, infrastructure and the environment among their top issues.

“All roads to majorities, to the White House, go through the heartland of America,” Dingell stated.

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