Republican Martha McSally is settling into Washington, even as a recount is underway to determine whether she has toppled U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., in the close 2nd Congressional District election.
McSally, who attended freshman orientation a few weeks ago, announced Wednesday she has been appointed to the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.
The results of the ballot recount are expected to be announced Dec. 17. Going into the recount, McSally led by 161 votes.
The Armed Services Committee, which oversees the Defense Department, has sway over two major military installations in the district, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Army’s Fort Huachuca. McSally is a retired 26-year veteran of the Air Force and was the branch’s first woman to fly in combat.
The Homeland Security Committee deals with border issues, another hot topic in the district that borders Mexico.
McSally’s service on the committees would maintain southern Arizona’s representation. Barber currently serves on both, as well as the Small Business Committee. As a freshman in 2012, he pushed to serve on all three, a larger load than most House members.
“The Armed Services Committee plays a key role in ensuring our military is ready and able to defend America, its interests, and its citizens,” she said, noting the district’s military ties. “You couldn’t ask for a better assignment.”
Republican Armed Services Chairman-select Mac Thornberry said McSally’s background is a strength.
“With her many years’ experience serving in the military and extensive national security expertise, there’s no doubt Martha will be a strong asset to the committee, a strong leader for our country, and an effective advocate for the people she represents,” he said in a statement.
McSally retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 2010. She earned a master’s degree from the U.S. Air War College, focused on national security, as well as a master’s from Harvard University. She was deployed multiple times to the Middle East and Afghanistan and led oversight of counter-terrorism missions in Africa.
As for Homeland Security, McSally said she would focus on border security and preventing terrorists from entering the country.
“The safety and security of our communities is a top priority,” she said.
Republican Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said McSally understands the border after spending time with ranchers and border residents.
“That kind of experience is invaluable to the work of the committee,” he said.
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