U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, has been working for months to snag the top Republican spot on the House Armed Services Committee, even before the current office holder announced his retirement in September, he said Tuesday.
Rogers said he has been on the House Armed Services Committee for 17 years and had been chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee until the most recent congressional session, when he became the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee.
“I remain one of the most senior members of the Armed Services Committee,” Rogers said in remarks after an event at an Anniston plant of the defense contractor BAE Systems.
Rep. Mac Thornberry, the Texas Republican who is the current ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, announced last week he won’t seek re-election.
Tim Barnett, who heads Jacksonville State University’s political science and public administration department, said Rogers is one of the most qualified members in the Armed Services Committee to take a minority leadership position.
If Rogers were to become the panel’s top Republican, Barnett said, he would be better able to advocate for the state of Alabama.
While Rogers’ appointment to the position may not bring new military projects to the Anniston area, Barnett said, it could bring them to other places in Alabama such as Huntsville or Mobile, bringing in revenue and creating jobs
According to Rogers, members of Congress tend to become proficient on a specific issue during their time in office. He said his focus has been on national security.
“We’ve had a seat on the Armed Services Committee from east Alabama at least 70 years, so that was definitely an area I wanted to focus on,” Rogers said. “We had just gotten the Center for Domestic Preparedness, which also was a big player for my district, so I decided national security was going to become my subject matter of expertise.”
Rogers said he is vying with a representative from Ohio for the position; published reports have said that state’s Rep. Mike Turner is another top candidate. Republican leaders in the House will choose their ranking committee members several weeks after the November elections next year.