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Collins named to Trump's transition executive committee

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Chris Collins was named Friday to the executive committee of Donald J. Trump's transition team.

Collins, R-Clarence, in February became the first member of the House to endorse the New York billionaire for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump won an electoral college victory over the Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Tuesday's election and will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.

Trump’s transition team announced that Collins would become part of the 16-member committee in the same press release where the president-elect named vice president-elect Mike Pence to chair the transition, replacing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie will become a vice chairman, along with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

Other people on the transition's executive committee include Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Trump Campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon, businessman Peter Thiel and Trump’s three adult children.

"It's humbling and honoring for me to serve the president on the same committee as his three children," Collins said. "It's quite a positive, esteemed group."

Collins said he would do whatever Trump asks him to do on the transition committee, although he has no specific duties so far. He said he expects to learn more about his role when he returns to Washington next week.

"It's a massive undertaking" to hire the political appointees who will run the government under a Trump administration,  said Collins, who received word that he had been appointed to the committee shortly after noon on Friday.

In the press release announcing the changes to his transition team, Trump said: “The mission of our team will be clear: put together the most highly qualified group of successful leaders who will be able to implement our change agenda in Washington. Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation -- specifically jobs, security and opportunity. This team is going to get to work immediately to Make America Great Again.”

The press release did not specify Collins’ role on the committee.

Collins, who won a third term in the House on Tuesday, serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has wide jurisdiction over energy, health care and other economic issues.

During the summer, Collins said in an interview that he would be interested in serving as Trump’s commerce secretary, but he told CNN earlier this week that he had told Trump that he would like to remain in Congress, where he sees himself working with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

"I believe we've got an opening here where maybe I could be a go-between between Mr. Ryan and Mr. Trump," Collins said.




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