Press Releases

Carper, Landrieu Assume Leadership of Senate New Democrat Coalition

Co-Founder Graham Turns Over Chairmanship

Jun 23 2003

WASHINGTON, DC - Florida Senator Bob Graham announced today that he is handing over the chairmanship of the 18-member Senate New Democrat Coalition to Delaware Senator Thomas Carper and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. The Senate New Democrat Coalition has taken the lead in seeking a responsible and pragmatic "third way" on issues ranging from the economy to health care that have divided the Senate along partisan lines. Graham, a co-founder of the New Democrats, has been chairman of the group since its inception in 2000, and the change in leadership is a rotation that has been planned. "I am very pleased and proud to have been a founder of the Senate New Democrats and to have served as chairman while we worked on economic policy, education reform, opening our markets through trade, and so many other initiatives. We have had an impact on some of the biggest issues of the day," Senator Graham said. "As we rotate our leadership positions, I wish Senators Carper and Landrieu well and pledge to do all that I can do to continue our progress." "I look forward to working with Senator Landrieu as co-chair of the New Democrats, and toward crafting moderate approaches to many of the issues facing us today, such as strengthening our economy, restoring fiscal discipline, and enacting sound transportation and environmental legislation," said Senator Carper. "Senator Graham has been an excellent head of the New Democrats, and Senator Landrieu and I plan to continue his tradition of coming up with innovative ways to help enact a common-sense, bipartisan legislative agenda." "Senator Graham is to be commended for taking the New Democrat agenda to the forefront of the Congress," said Senator Landrieu. "He has helped moderates develop a 'third way' to view such issues as protecting the homeland, strengthening families and communities, modernizing our health care system and insisting on accountability in education. Senator Carper and I will continue to move the New Democrat vision forward because there is a better set of solutions to our challenges then what is being presented in Washington today." Carper served five terms in the House and two terms as governor before he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000. During his more than 25 years of public service, Tom Carper has sought to build consensus and work across party lines to find practical solutions to real problems. The Washington Post's David Broder calls Tom Carper "a notably effective and nonpartisan leader, admired and trusted on both sides of the aisle." He currently sits on the Governmental Affairs, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the Environment and Public Works Committee, where he is the ranking Democrat on the Clean Air, Wetlands and Climate Change Subcommittee. In 1997, Senator Landrieu became the first woman from Louisiana elected to a full term in the United States Senate. She is a strong and effective voice for moderates in the Senate with experience on both the Armed Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee. Prior to her service in the Senate, Landrieu was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives at the age of 23. After two terms in the House, she served eight years as State Treasurer, finding innovative solutions for the state's fiscal problems, including responsible state debt limitations and investments for education. The Senate New Democrat Coalition is a group of 18 senators from across the country committed to developing bipartisan approaches on various issues, such as the economy, international trade, education, health the environment. The SNDC meets regularly to discuss new policies and coalition initiatives, as members work to craft successful approaches to legislation and resolve partisan stalemates in Congress.