To say Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s political career has taken off during the past five years might be an understatement.
In five years’ time — the amount of time it takes most college students to earn a bachelor’s degree — the Camas Republican became a legislator in the state House of Representatives, successfully ran for Congress twice and recently was named to the U.S. House’s coveted federal-spending committee. That appointment gives her more authority over the Columbia River Crossing project.
Part of the 34-year-old’s success might come from the fact that her diverse background is seen as advantageous for the Republican Party, especially in a time when the party is working to re-brand itself. But a more important key to her success, her supporters and colleagues say, is that Herrera Beutler is an energetic and practical leader who balances party loyalty with the needs of an often independently minded district.
“People have recognized her as the talent that she is,” Herrera Beutler’s former boss, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, said recently. “I’m always impressed that Jaime is quick to speak up, and she recognizes that it’s her responsibility to speak up on behalf of the people she represents.”