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Meet the Texan Tapped as the New Ways & Means Chairman

Image via Flickr/House GOP (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Republican Kevin Brady of Texas was named the new chairman of the House Ways and Means committee.

From Texas Standard:

Last week, Texas Rep. Kevin Brady won over the chairmanship of one of the most powerful groups of congressional lawmakers, the House Ways and Means Committee.

Brady, who also hails from The Woodlands, took newly-minted House Speaker Paul Ryan’s old spot after Ryan was electedinto John Boehner’s recently vacant position. The Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over tax-writing and other revenue-related aspects of health care, Medicare, Social Security, international trade and welfare.


Kevin Brady spoke with Texas Standard about his plans for leading the committee and what his parents - staunch Democrats - would think of his position as one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress.

Will you follow in Paul Ryan’s footsteps, or do you have other plans for Ways and Means?

"We have been talking a lot about tax reform … The Ways and Means Committee has a lot of jurisdiction. What I'm going to focus on is fixing this broken tax code so we can grow our economy and grow jobs as well. I'm gonna take real steps toward fixing Social Security and Medicare for the long-term. Those are such important programs, but they're financially on shaky ground.”

You come from a family of Democrats. What was the moment when you decided the democratic party wasn't your home anymore?

"When I chose chamber of commerce work for my professional career. That's where you help start small businesses. You create a good business climate to then just succeed in good times and, frankly, survive in bad times. You recruit new industry to your community. When I saw first hand how burdensome red tape is and taxes are on our local job creators, that's when I knew the Republican party had principles for me.

“At the end of the day, I just believe my party is all about one, a strong national defense, secondly, less government and taxes so you can live your life and thirdly, the freedom to trade. Those are principles that frankly I'm gonna pursue as leader of the Ways and Means committee.”

What do you think your parents would say about you being one of the most powerful Republicans in the the U.S. House?

“Well, I think they'd be amazed. But I tell you what – they taught me such great values, same as my four brothers and sisters. We had a remarkable mother who just was amazing, and so I think all of us are shaped so much by our family. I think they'd be proud and I hope I can make them prouder still."

Rhonda joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.
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