Powerful new GOP House chairman had early Democratic roots

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House's newest and perhaps most powerful committee chairman is a 60-year-old Texas Republican who began life in a family of stalwart Democrats from South Dakota. He also lost his father at age 12 in a courtroom shooting.

Rep. Kevin Brady took over the House Ways and Means Committee last week.

It's one of the Congress' most influential panels, overseeing taxes, trade and benefit programs like Medicare.

Brady's a mainstream conservative who wins praise from hard-line members of the House Freedom Caucus.

He says as chairman, he's going to do what new House Speaker Paul Ryan has promised: pursue big issues and involve rank-and-file lawmakers in decision-making.