Rep. Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) has snagged a key subcommittee chairmanship during his first month as a congressman.
Kean will chair the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, which has regional jurisdiction over security, trade, finances, infrastructure, and energy.
“The challenges in Europe require a high level of cooperation amongst our longstanding allies and partners. We will prioritize continuing to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom against Russia as we work with our NATO allies to ensure the security of the transatlantic community,” said Kean. “America and our European allies and partners can achieve great economic and diplomatic successes when we work together.”
The subcommittee gavel came from the new House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas).
“I look forward to working with him on committee priorities, including supporting Ukraine to achieve victory in Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression, ensuring accountability for Russian war crimes and other atrocities, maintaining a strong and united NATO, and working with allies and partners to address CCP and Russian malign influence across Europe and the Arctic,” McCaul stated.
With Republicans back in the majority, Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Manchester) will also regain the chairmanship of the Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee.
Smith, the second-ranking House Foreign Affairs Committee member, is also chairing the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Subcommittee chairs for freshmen Members of Congress in rare but not unusual.
In 2019, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) became chair of the House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight. She became the first New Jersey freshman to become a subcommittee chair since Rep. Jon Runyan (R-Moorestown) in 2011.
For the last four years, Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) chaired the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. Sires did not seek re-election last year and is now a candidate for mayor of West New York, a post he held for eleven years before his election to Congress in 2006.
Kean worked on international policy issues as a congressional aide in the 1990s and received his master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He was pursuing his Ph.D. there in 2000 when he returned home to New Jersey to run for office.
Last year, Kean unseated a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Democrat Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), a former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State during the Obama administration.