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Amid criticism, House GOP names woman committee chair

After taking heat for naming zero women or minorities as committee chairmen in the next Congress, House Republican leadership today appointed Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., to serve as chairman of the House Administration Committee.

"From ensuring the House runs efficiently and smoothly, to making Congress more open and accessible, Candice has a big job ahead as chairman of the House Administration Committee," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. "In her new post, Candice will provide the leadership needed to keep operating costs down, save taxpayer dollars, and help lawmakers use new technology to better engage with their constituents."

In explaining the appointment, Boehner cited Miller's experience serving as Michigan Secretary of State, calling that experience "invaluable, given the committee's oversight of campaign finance and election laws."

Still, the appointment appears to be purely political, since Miller, in her sixth term in office, doesn't even currently serve on the House Administration Committee. The Administration and Ethics committees are the only congressional committees to which the speaker can simply appoint someone.

In the current Congress, one Hispanic congresswoman -- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. -- serves as committee chair in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She's stepping down, however, due to caucus-imposed term limits on committee chairmen.

While there will be 61 women in the House Democratic caucus in the next Congress, Republicans will have just 17 female members.

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