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November 19, 2008 2:43 PM

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers elected leaders in respective caucuses in Congress

Posted by Kate Riley

Office of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers at a Tuesday press conference discussing her election as vice chair of the House Republican caucus.

Washington is known for its women leaders -- and the current crop is no different.

Washington's most senior elected Republican woman, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, has joined her caucus' leadership team in the U.S. House of Representatives. And U.S. Sen. Patty Murray was re-elected to top leadership among Senate Democrats.

With U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's re-election as Democratic conference secretary , she retains the fourth most powerful position among Senate Democrats. And McMorris Rodgers, who represents Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District, was elected vice chair of the House Republican conference. She joins joins Republican Leader John Boehner, Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Conference Chair Mike Pence, Conference Secretary John Carter, NRCC Chair Pete Sessions and Republican Policy Committee Chair Thaddeus McCotter as members of the House GOP leadership team.

McMorris Rodgers' relative youth -- she's a mother of an 18-month-old -- should be embraced by her caucus, which is in serious need of an image makeover after some bruising elections have winnowed the ranks of Republicans. She acknowledged as much in a press conference today:

Someone has proposed that we should become the “Grand New Party”, and I must admit, it’s appealing to me, because, I do think, we need to come up with a way of shedding some of the past bad behavior and some of the missed opportunities that we’ve had, and we also, as a party, must bring our message into the 21st century.

McMorris Rodgers recently, and easily, won re-election to her third time. Her rise in her caucus should not be surprising. Before she ran for Congress, she led the House Republican caucus in the state Legislature.

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