U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin says he seriously considered running for higher office before landing a position on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, a development that he says assures he will run for re-election in two years instead.
Griffin, a Republican from Little Rock who was re-elected earlier this month to his second term, had previously been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor or U.S. Senate in 2014.
"I was certainly considering my options," Griffin said. "I was looking very carefully at the Senate race in particular. But my wife and I did a lot of praying and talking, and we decided what would be best for our family and really for me and my role in the Congress and my constituents and the state really would be for me to aggressively pursue the committee that deals with a lot of issues I'm interested in, that being the Ways and Means Committee."
Griffin and fellow Republicans Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Rep. Todd Young of Indiana were all named Friday to the committee, which is responsible for writing the tax code. It also handles legislation dealing with trade agreements, the national debt, federal revenue, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Speaking by phone early Friday afternoon from Washington, Griffin said Ways and Means will be his only committee assignment and will have his attention through at least the next election.
"This is where I want to be," he said. "I don't think there's a better job in Washington. ... I am not going to run for governor in 2014, I'm not going to run for Senate. I'm going to be focused like a laser on the work of the committee."
Talk Business first reported Griffin's selection and decision not to seek higher office because of it.
Griffin, the first Arkansas Republican to ever serve on Ways and Means, said he hopes to focus on his signature issues of Medicaid reform, tax-code changes and job creation.
"But obviously the chairman is going to steer the ship so to speak and I'm just honored to be on the committee," he said. "I'm beyond honored. I'm excited and ready to get to work."