Congress

All but one of the GOP’s top leaders in the House will be white men

Republican Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., right, Republican Policy Committee Chair, will be the only woman left of the House leadership team. She and other team members, including Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., left, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of Calif., center right, participated in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, after Ryan unanimously won his GOP colleagues' votes for another term at the helm of the House.
Republican Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., right, Republican Policy Committee Chair, will be the only woman left of the House leadership team. She and other team members, including Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., left, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of Calif., center right, participated in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, after Ryan unanimously won his GOP colleagues' votes for another term at the helm of the House. AP

With the departure of two congresswomen, all but one of the top leadership ranks in the U.S. House of Representatives will be held by white men.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, who served as Republican conference vice chair, decided not to seek re-election to the post, her spokesman Michael Byerly said.

The job had been held by Jenkins since 2012. It is the fifth-highest ranking position in the House Republican leadership hierarchy.

Jenkins’ departure, along with that of Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, who stepped down as conference secretary, means that seven of the top eight Republicans in the House will be white men.

Jenkins will be replaced by Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia. Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri will take over from Foxx as secretary.

Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington will keep her job. She now will be the only woman serving in House Republican leadership.

Byerly, Jenkins’ spokesman, said she had decided to not seek re-election because she wanted more time to focus on repealing and replacing Obamacare and overhauling the tax code.

“She is deeply grateful to the whole conference for their support over the past two Congresses,” he said.

Jenkins has always believed that more women should get involved and run for public office, Byerly said when asked if Jenkins is concerned about the lack of women among GOP House leaders.

“A more diverse Congress will help bring further success and more opportunities,” he said.

Lindsay Wise: 202-383-6007, @lindsaywise

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