Sen. Harry Reid, a Church member and Democratic lawmaker from Nevada, is expected to be named the U.S. Senate's majority whip following a dramatic shift of power in the 107th U.S. Congress.
As majority whip, Sen. Reid would assume what is believed to be the highest-ranking position a Church member has held in Congress.
He was named minority whip Dec. 1, 1998, after he was elected to his third term in the Senate. Party whips are mainly responsible for counting heads and rounding up party members for votes and quorum calls. They occasionally stand in for the majority or minority leader in his absence.
Sen. Reid's anticipated position change comes after Vermont Sen. James Jeffords' May 24 announcement that he was leaving the Republican Party to become an independent. His decision shifted the precarious balance of power in the U.S. Senate to the Democrats, who now hold a 50-49 majority over their Republican colleagues.
Sen. Reid joined the Church as a junior at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. He has served as an elders quorum president, high councilor and a Sunday School superintendent.
Sen. Jeffords' decision also likely affects Sen. Orrin Hatch's, R-Utah, role on Capitol Hill. Sen. Hatch, a lifelong Church member and longtime lawmaker, has been serving as chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee for several years. He will now likely surrender that committee position to a Democrat.
Sixteen Church members are serving in the 107th U.S. Congress.
LDS members in the U.S. Senate include Sens. Reid and Hatch, along with Bob Bennett, R-Utah; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; and Gordon Smith, R-Ore.
Church members serving in the House of Representatives include Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; Chris Cannon, R-Utah; John Doolittle, R-Calif.; Jim Hansen, R-Utah; Wally Herger, R-Calif.; Ernest Istook, R-Okla.; Buck McKeon, R-Calif.; Mike Simpson, R-Idaho; and Tom Udall, D-NM. Eni Faleomavaega, D-American Samoa, is a non-voting delegate.