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Thursday, February 22

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Illinois Mon Nov 29 2010

Rep. Roskam Named Chief Deputy Majority Whip

The big news this afternoon is that Rep. Peter Roskam (R-06) has been appointed Chief Deputy Majority Whip for the U.S. House of Representatives:

(Crain's) -- U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam was named chief deputy majority whip of the incoming GOP-controlled House on Monday.

The Wheaton Republican will rank fourth among House Republican leaders, giving Illinois a voice at the upper levels of the party's hierarchy.

Mr. Roskam is positioned to be a go-between with the White House for the House GOP leadership. He and President Barack Obama served together in the Illinois Senate and collaborated in Springfield on issues such as death penalty reform.

It's the bottom rung of House leadership, but a stepping stone where former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Plano, started in 1995 after Republicans gained majority control of the House. Others who started as chief deputy whip include incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and the incoming majority whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Ca., who appointed Mr. Roskam to the post.

The majority whip and his chief deputy are primarily concerned with counting votes, communicating the party's agenda and lining up undecided members to vote for the leadership's position on bills before the House.

The position has seen its share of big names before they were big names including Dennis Hastert of Illinois who later served as Speaker of the House and soon-to-be Majority Leader Eric Cantor so the job is likely a sign that Roskam is line for more important positions. Greg Hinz notes that Roskam is building quite a resume. In addition to his new gig, Roskam is also a member of the powerful Ways and Means committee. Politico recalls that Roskam also helped direct America Speaking Out, an online grassroots initiative that helped craft the GOP's Pledge to America.

The Politico article also hypothesizes that Roskam's selection may be because he has worked with President Obama before when he was in the state legislature. Roskam could act as a go-between between the GOP and the president, an astute assumption given that Roskam and Obama have worked together and are from the same state.

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