House leaders honor Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) as longest-serving member

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 9:17 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) honored Congressman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) during a Wednesday evening reception on Capitol Hill.

Rogers is now the Dean of the House, a designation given to the body’s longest continuously serving member. Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981.

At the reception, McCarthy said, “He’s [Rogers] let me come to his district. And if you’ve ever spent time with in his district, you’ll understand, God has put him in the place he was meant to be. He has a servant’s heart.”

Hoyer said, “The people of his congressional district have said, ‘Hal you’re doing the job we want done and we’re going to send you back.’ That’s how you get to be the Dean.”

Rogers said me he believes the country needs bipartisanship in politics. When asked how he can use the role as Dean to help push for it, Rogers said, “I think it’s more tone. Bipartisanship in tone. So we show respect for each other, there’s civility involved on both sides.”

Late congressman Don Young, from Alaska, was the Dean of the House until his sudden passing this March. Young was known on Capitol Hill for the dozens of taxidermied animals that hung in his office.

Rogers’ office is quite different. The walls are covered with large pictures of his district, and of the many notable people he has met over his 40-plus years in Congress. Rogers said one of the most memorable was the late Queen Elizabeth.

He said, She spoke to a joint session of Congress, came into this room [Rayburn Room] for a reception afterwards where I came and met her. Gracious, wonderful lady. We miss her.”

When asked what the role as Dean may mean for his constituents, Rogers said, “This job and this title is really ceremonial mainly. The only real duties it has a the moment is to swear in the new Speaker come the next Congress. Beyond that, it’s really what I make of it, and I’m thinking.”

Rogers is running for re-election in Kentucky’s 5th congressional district and easily won this year’s Republican primary. He’s facing Democrat Conor Halbleib in November’s general election. Rogers has earned more than 70% of the vote in every general election since 1994.

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