House Democrats project unity, a winning message as they plot their path to the majority
On the first day of their annual retreat, party leaders pledged to put “people over politics” while promising their go-to catchphrase is more than a sound bite.
BALTIMORE — You’re more likely to see a member of Congress power-walking to and from the House chamber to vote before their time expires than you are to see them mingling outside a hotel ballroom.
Such is the vibe though at the House Democratic Caucus 2023 Issues Conference, a three-day confab where members will discuss their policy priorities and formulate a path back to the majority next year away from the frenetic pace of the US Capitol.
The retreat’s theme is “people over politics,” a phrase you’re bound to hear at least once in any extended conversation with a member of the caucus. But leaders promise that their go-to tagline is more than just an alliterative sound bite.
“Behind every one of these sound bites are transformative investments that are making a real difference in the lives of the American people,” Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado, and the head of the caucus’s policy and communications shop, said to Supercreator during the opening press conference of the retreat. “The House Democratic Caucus has, in my view, a message that resonates deeply with the American people. You saw that in some of the election outcomes last November. We have every confidence that message is going to continue to resonate.”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar, who represents part of California’s southwestern San Bernardino County, added that members would rely on Neguse’s team to offer guidance on how members can distill a historic list of legislative achievements into plain and simple terms that can break through in a fractured media environment.
“Passing legislation is just one piece of what we do. Telling the American people as well as implementing it are some of the other legs of the stool,” he said to Supercreator. “But we’ve done the tough part. We passed the pieces of legislation.”
Rep. Jim Clyburn, the number-four House Democrat, agreed with his colleagues on the responsiblity the caucus has to meet constituents where they are.
“I often say to my caucus our main job is to explain to people exactly what our proposals will do for them, what they will do for their families and what they will do for the communities within which they live,” he said. “And that’s what this is all about.”