Ag and natural resources committees likely landing places for Barr; Says he won't rush staff hires

11/19/2012 07:05 PM

Andy Barr, the newly-elected congressman from Kentucky’s 6th District, said he is realistically hoping to be placed on the House Agriculture Committee and/or the Natural Resources Committee.

Barr spent last week in Washington participating in freshman orientation and returns next week for the second half of the training.

Freshmen in Congress, as a rule, don’t get coveted spots on the most high-profile committees, such as budget, ways and means, appropriations or select intelligence. And Barr probably won’t be considered for the Energy and Commerce Committee because two other Kentucky Republicans — U.S. Reps. Ed Whitfield and Brett Guthrie — already are there.

“Anything dealing with agriculture, mining and minerals, auto manufacturing — those are committee assignments that I would be interested in,” Barr said. (1:30 of the interview.)

Barr (at 4:00 of the interview) answered questions about his priorities for the 6th District, which he will now represent after defeating Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler in the Nov. 6 election.

And Barr, a Lexington lawyer, said he’s not going to rush the hiring of staff in his Washington or 6th District offices. Although he confirmed Andy Hightower, a longtime friend of Barr’s who has served as executive director of the Kentucky Club for Growth, will play a key role on his staff. Hightower also worked as a senior legislative and policy aide during Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration as well as in Fletcher’s Washington office while he was 6th District congressman. (6:30)

Chandler, who represented the 6th District since February 2004, most recently served on the House Select Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees. He previously served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, as well as the ag committee.

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