It's official: Congressman David Cicilline has landed posts on the House Small Business and Foreign Affairs committees. These were not his top choices. Early on, he voiced interest in succeeding departing Representative Patrick Kennedy on the powerful Appropriations Committee. That was always a long shot for a freshman and when it became clear that it was not to be, he set his sights on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. That committee, too, remained out of reach.
Small business, of course, is a vital part of the Rhode Island economy. And Cicilline suggests the post on the Small Business Committee will give him a chance to pursue a proposal he made during the campaign - a "Made in America Block Grant" that would encourage the retooling of fading factories. But getting that through as a freshman in the minority party, in what promises to be an age of austerity, will be next to impossible.
Such is life amid a GOP ascendance - and in the post-Patrick Kennedy era.