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Rep. Robin Kelly enters race for Democratic caucus vice chair

Rep. Robin Kelly enters race for Democratic caucus vice chair
© Bonnie Cash

Rep. Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellyHHS expands Medicaid postpartum coverage for Illinois mothers up to a year after giving birth Democrats spar over COVID-19 vaccine strategy Lawmakers emphasize prioritizing patients' needs in health care policy MORE (D-Ill.) formally announced she is running for vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus next Congress in a letter to her colleagues Wednesday obtained by The Hill.

The Illinois lawmaker is running to replace Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkDemocratic scramble complicates Biden's human infrastructure plan Child care advocates seek to lock down billion in new federal funding Pelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief MORE (D-Mass.), who is gunning for the assistant speaker position.

Kelly, who was first elected in a 2013 special election, touted her position as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and as a Midwestern Democrat in her letter asking colleagues for support.

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"I’m proud that our caucus focuses on diversity and firmly believe it represents our greatest strength," she wrote. "As a Black woman and Midwesterner, I will provide a unique voice in leadership discussions and serve as a visible reminder of our caucus’s racial, gender and geographical diversity."

Kelly currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the House Oversight and Reform Committee. She is also co-chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

The Illinois Democrat will face off against Rep. Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarTSA chief cites 'substantial increase' in firearms at airports Democrats seek to keep spotlight on Capitol siege Hispanic Caucus energized by first Biden meeting MORE (D-Calif.), who announced his intentions to seek the Democratic vice chair position on Tuesday.

Aguilar, a chief deputy whip and member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) elected in 2014, was defeated by Clark two years ago in the race for vice chair. 

If Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) loses his race to be assistant speaker, Aguilar would be the only CHC member in the running for leadership, which could give him the edge.

Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water | Watchdog questions adequacy of EPA standards for carcinogenic chemical emissions | Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback on bird protections Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback on bird protections MORE (D-N.M.) has also made calls to colleagues about the vice chair job, The Hill reported earlier this week.