WASHINGTON - Washington Rep. Adam Smith was elected as the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee late last night.
The committee plays an influential role on Capitol Hill when it comes to setting defense and national security policy.
Smith's election gives Washington state an important one-two punch when it comes to defense issues. Earlier, the Democratic caucus named Washington Rep. Norm Dicks the ranking member on the House defense appropriations subcommittee.
Smith's victory in the Democratic caucus was a narrow one. He beat California Rep. Loretta Sanchez 97-86.
In a statement, Smith pledged to remain a "strong advocate for our military personnel and their families. I am committed to providing them with the benefits and support they deserve for their faithful years of service."
Smith's congressional district includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside Tacoma.