In reversal, Stephen Lynch says he will support Nancy Pelosi for House speaker

"Leader Pelosi has assured me that the priorities of average working families will be the priorities of the upcoming Congress," the Boston Democrat said in a statement Friday.

Brockton-02/23/13 -Congressman Stephen Lynch gave his stance on pending national immigration reform during a Campaign of Citizenship kickoff event held at the St. Patrick Church hall. Globe staff photo by John Tlumacki (metro)
Congressman Stephen Lynch. –John Tlumacki / Boston Globe

U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, once opposed, will now support California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi for House speaker, the Boston Democrat announced Friday.

The 8th District representative was among 16 lawmakers who signed a letter last month pledging their opposition to Pelosi stepping into the leadership role.

But Lynch said recent conversations with Pelosi have offered him clarity on the future priorities for House Democrats and have changed his stance.

“Leader Pelosi has assured me that the priorities of average working families will be the priorities of the upcoming Congress,” he said in a statement released Friday.

The news comes following his remarks late last month that he would likely support Pelosi as the two talked over Lynch’s objectives for the 116th Congress and hammered out details. His statement this week indicated Pelosi now has his “full support.”

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“In the recent past, working-class Democrats have felt that they were taken for granted in our party and candidate Donald Trump exploited that perception,” Lynch said. “My goal was to get some reassurances that we are going to adopt an agenda that will include a real focus on issues that will make life better for the every working family, issues like; pension reform, rebuilding America’s transportation infrastructure, roads and bridges, college affordability and protecting Social Security and Medicare.

“We had one of the best conversations we’ve had since I’ve been in the House and we are aligned on making those issues a priority.”

Part of his conversations with Pelosi have assured Lynch that she would “re-empower” the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — of which he is a senior member — after a rather unproductive last two years under the Trump administration, Lynch said.

“Republicans obstructed any meaningful oversight from taking place,” he said. “There were many instances where our committee could have shown the American people that we take our oversight role seriously, and that we put country over party. Instead, Democrats were blocked from honest, diligent work and our requests for hearings on important issues were repeatedly denied.”

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Pelosi, who received the party’s nomination for speaker of the House last month, has been working to win over her critics to secure the 218 votes she’ll need to secure the post on Jan. 3, including Bay State Congressman Seth Moulton.

The Salem Democrat, who also signed last month’s letter, has said he wants to see Pelosi change her leadership team “to allow a new generation of leadership to step forward.”

Lynch on Friday said Pelosi “understands not only the job that needs to be done, but also how to bring disparate voices in our party together.”

“I’m happy to be supporting her and look forward to the upcoming session,” he said.

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