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Putnam wins job as GOP policy chairman

Published February 3, 2006

WASHINGTON - Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow was elected chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, giving him a seat in party leadership and providing Florida with new congressional clout.

Putnam, whose district includes eastern and southern Hillsborough County, defeated three other Republicans for the job. He described the policy committee as the "over-the-horizon think tank" that deals with long-term issues that don't necessarily fall within the jurisdiction of House committees.

He said his panel would explore issues such as privacy and information security that are likely to become important in the future.

"My goal for the committee is to identify issues that are important to the nation for us to deal with before they blow up in our face," he said.

He also wants to use the committee to "bring the factions within the party together," he said. "The idea is so that rather than digging in as factions, we are working on issues that unite us."

The selection of Putnam, 31, gives Florida clout at a critical time. Because of retirements and term limits, Floridians no longer chair any committees.

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, described Putnam as "one of the most respected members of the House." He said Putnam could have long-term influence for the state because he "is an established leader who has an unlimited future in the House."

Times staff writer Wes Allison contributed to this report

[Last modified February 3, 2006, 01:25:14]

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