The Blue Dog Democrats have a new member today, helping to ease the hit the conservative Dem caucus is taking from retirements this year.
North Carolina Rep. Larry Kissell, first elected to the House in 2008, voted against ObamaCare in 2010. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Agriculture Committee.
“I’ve always said I’m not much of a joiner, but I believe that a strong moderate presence is needed, and that’s why I have joined the Blue Dog Coalition,” Kissell said in a statement. “Now, more than ever, we must have representatives who are willing to work with both sides of the aisle to get the job done, whether working to create jobs and get our economy back on track or get our fiscal house in order, and it is clear that our moderate message is strongest when we stand together.”
Three of the members joining the statement to welcome Kissell to the caucus are retiring at the end of this year: Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.).
Other Blue Dogs not running for re-election are Reps. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who retired in January to focus on her recovery from being shot in 2011, was also a Blue Dog.
“I’m glad that Congressman Kissell is joining the Blue Dog Coalition,” said Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy. “Congressman Kissell has brought a fiscally responsible and independent voice to Congress since getting elected in 2008, and I look forward to working with him, the Blue Dog Coalition, and all members of Congress to get rid of wasteful spending and get folks back to work.”