Caucus chair

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A caucus chairman is a person who chairs the meetings of a caucus. Often, the caucus chairman is assigned other duties as well.

A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement. The term originated in the United States, but has spread to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Nepal. As the use of the term has been expanded, the exact definition has come to vary among political cultures.

Commonwealth Nations

In Canada, the elected members of each party in Parliament, including senators, or a provincial legislature, elect among themselves a caucus chairman who presides over their meetings. This person is an important figure when the party is in opposition and an important link between cabinet and the backbench when the party is in government.

A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman provincia, which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire's territorial possessions outside Italy. The term province has since been adopted by many countries. In some countries with no actual provinces, "the provinces" is a metaphorical term meaning "outside the capital city".

Cabinet (government) group of high ranking officials, usually representing the executive branch of government

A Cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch. Members of a cabinet are usually called Cabinet ministers or secretaries. The function of a Cabinet varies: in some countries it is a collegiate decision-making body with collective responsibility, while in others it may function either as a purely advisory body or an assisting institution to a decision making head of state or head of government. Cabinets are typically the body responsible for the day-to-day management of the government and response to sudden events, whereas the legislative and judicial branches work in a measured pace, in sessions according to lengthy procedures.

In Westminster parliamentary systems, a backbencher is a Member of Parliament (MP) or a legislator who holds no governmental office and is not a frontbench spokesman in the Opposition, being instead simply a member of the "rank and file". The term dates from 1855. The term derives from the fact that they sit physically behind the frontbench in the House of Commons. A backbencher may be a new parliamentary member yet to receive high office, a senior figure dropped from government, someone who for whatever reason is not chosen to sit either in the ministry or the opposition Shadow Ministry, or someone who prefers to be a background influence, not in the spotlight. By extension, those who are not reliable supporters of all of their party's goals and policies and have resigned or been forced to resign may be relegated to the back benches. For example, Clive Lewis becoming a backbencher after resigning from Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet over Brexit.

United States

In common U.S. Congressional Republican caucus legislative usage, the caucus chairman is styled conference chairman and is outranked by the Speaker or Senate President pro-tempore, and the leader or whip of his party.

Republican Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Speaker (politics) presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body

The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body, is its presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in England.

President pro tempore of the United States Senate second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate

The President pro tempore of the United States Senate is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. Article One, Section Three of the United States Constitution provides that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate, and mandates that the Senate must choose a President pro tempore to act in the Vice President's absence. Unlike the Vice President, the President pro tempore is an elected member of the Senate, able to speak or vote on any issue. Selected by the Senate at large, the President pro tempore has enjoyed many privileges and some limited powers. During the Vice President's absence, the President pro tempore is empowered to preside over Senate sessions. In practice, neither the Vice President nor the President pro tempore usually presides; instead, the duty of presiding officer is rotated among junior U.S. Senators of the majority party to give them experience in parliamentary procedure.

The duties of a caucus chairman depend upon the political party caucus. In the Republican conference in the U.S. House of Representatives, for instance, the caucus chairman is in charge of coordinating the party's overall message.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they comprise the legislature of the United States.

The position of caucus chairman may or may not lead to higher office. Republican conference chair John Anderson and Democratic Caucus Chair Richard Gephardt unsuccessfully sought their party's Presidential nominations in 1980 and 1988 respectively. Anderson took his following and ran as a third party presidential candidate the same year, and never again achieved national prominence as a Republican. Gephardt though was elected as the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives in 1989, and stayed in that position through 2002, before stepping down to run unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for President again in 2004. Gephardt helped nominate John Kerry by promptly endorsing him after Kerry defeated him in the Iowa caucuses.

Dick Gephardt American politician

Richard Andrew Gephardt is an American politician who served as a United States Representative from Missouri from 1977 to 2005. A member of the Democratic Party, he was House Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995 and Minority Leader from 1995 to 2003. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 1988 and 2004. Gephardt was mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee in 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2008.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

President of the United States (POTUS) is the title for the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Many state legislative bodies have caucus chairmen for both party caucuses in the House and in the Senate. The duties of the caucus chairman, as with the federal government, depend on the decisions of the caucus. The number of times each caucus meets, the role of each caucus in aiding legislative decision-making, the interrelationships with other caucus leaders and memberships, the assignment of political and institutional duties, all vary in accordance with local traditions and personalities.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with the executive and judicial branches of government.

Tradition belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past

A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes, but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years—the word tradition itself derives from the Latin tradere literally meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. While it is commonly assumed that traditions have ancient history, many traditions have been invented on purpose, whether that be political or cultural, over short periods of time. Various academic disciplines also use the word in a variety of ways.

Caucuses do not always function well. In Congress in the 1950s, for instance, the House Democratic Caucus met so infrequently that insurgent Democrats formed the House Democratic Study Group, led by Rep. Eugene J. McCarthy, later a U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate, to do the work of reviewing legislation now generally done by caucuses under the direction of the caucus chairmen.

Caucuses have zealously guarded their prerogatives from the executive branch. When outgoing Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson became Vice-President, the President of the Senate, he suggested that his duties should include presiding over the Senate Democratic Caucus. Senate Democratic Caucus members generated enough opposition, to what they perceived as executive branch intrusion, that Johnson dropped his idea.

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