Nashville Congressman selects Powell over Pelosi for speaker - WSMV News 4

Nashville Congressman selects Powell over Pelosi for speaker

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Rep. Jim Cooper Rep. Jim Cooper

As members of the 113th Congress convened Thursday to elect the speaker of the House, one Tennessee congressman cast his vote for a well-known non-member of the House.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Cooper, who received two votes himself for speaker, was the lone representative to vote for Powell, as Republican John Boehner was easily re-elected to a new two-year term.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi received 192 votes to Boehner's 220 votes.

According to the Office of the Clerk for the House of Representatives, the Constitution does not require the speaker to be a member of the House, but all previous speakers have been members.

In a statement, Cooper said Powell's experience as secretary of state, a retired four-star Army general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would bring leadership to Congress.

"Never have America's problems looked so big, and Congress looked so small," Cooper said. "(Powell) has a proven ability to work across the aisle and has supported President Obama. He knows about reforming storied institutions like the military, and there is no institution in more dire need of reform than Congress. We need a hero now, more than ever."

Cooper has represented Tennessee's 5th District since 2003. Previously, he served as the 4th District Congressman from 1983-1995.

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