Government & Politics
11:08 am
Fri June 20, 2014

McCarthy's New Role As Majority Leader Could Benefit Central Valley

A Valley congressman is now one of the most powerful men in Washington. FM 89’s Diana Aguilera reports on what Kevin McCarthy’s new post might mean for the valley.

It's official. House Republicans elected Kevin McCarthy as House majority leader.

McCarthy was elected to Congress eight years ago, and has served as the House majority whip since 2011.
McCarthy was elected to Congress eight years ago, and has served as the House majority whip since 2011.
Credit Joe Moore

The Republican lawmaker from Bakersfield and grandson of a cattle rancher will become the youngest person to serve in the second-ranking role. He’s 49.

McCarthy, replacing Eric Cantor, will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the chamber and will decide what bills come to the floor.

"I’ve always had to struggle with whatever we wanted to overcome. I think that’s the greatest part about America, that they give you the privilege and the opportunity," McCarthy says. "That’s what this party brings as well, I think you give an opportunity people will be impressed about what we’re going to do and where we’re going to go."

"He has now become the most powerful politician that has come out of the Central Valley. He's in enormous ability to do things for the Valley." --Thomas Holyoke

Political analysts say this may be a win for the Valley on key issues.

"Kevin McCarthy has now become the most powerful politician that has come out of the Central Valley. He’s in enormous ability to do things for the Valley, that’s going to be seen in issues like water and high speed rail.”

That’s Thomas Holyoke, a political science professor at Fresno State. He says even though McCarthy has a sizeable Hispanic constituency, immigration reform still faces an uncertain future.

"Kevin McCarthy personally is probably for passing immigration reform legislation even though he's been a little cagey on saying exactly what he would do but that doesn’t mean he can force all the other house republicans --so you would need most of their support—to vote for an immigration bill."

McCarthy, who's served as the House majority whip since 2011, will be replaced by Steve Scalise from Louisiana.

McCarthy will assume the position of majority leader in July.