WASHINGTON – US Senator Scott Brown today scored three key committee assignments that could give him a boost as he seeks defense dollars for Massachusetts and political points for himself: Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Veterans’ Affairs.
For the new Republican senator, it’s a two-out-of-three success rate. He had asked Senate GOP leaders for Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Appropriations. But a coveted seat on appropriations was considered a long-shot. And landing a seat on the Veterans Affairs Committee gives the National Guard member a natural political platform as he looks ahead to a possible re-election bid in 2012.
The Armed Services and Homeland Security posts will put him in position to lobby for federal defense contracts for Massachusetts and New England – a task that was perfected by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who funneled billions of defense dollars to the Bay State. Although Brown is a freshman in the minority party, the region's defense industry has a powerful Washington lobby and strong allies on both sides of the aisle. Homeland Security includes oversight of the Coast Guard.
The full Senate must ratify Brown’s assignments, which were announced this afternoon. The appointments were made by Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“As a 30-year member of the National Guard, I am honored to have received these appointments,” Brown said in a press release. “We are currently involved in two wars, and these committees are critical in keeping our country safe, as well as protecting the men and women who defend us.”
Massachusetts High Technology President Christopher R. Anderson released a statement this afternoon lauding the assignments:
"The CEO members of the Mass. High Tech Council and the Defense Technology Initiative congratulate Senator Brown on his prestigious committee appointments. This is terrific news for Massachusetts and New England, particularly for our defense technology sector. It also shows the immediate clout Senator Brown wields on Capitol Hill as the result of his game-changing campaign and pledge to address our nation's challenges in a bipartisan manner. We look forward to working with him in building the regional economy and defense sector."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.