For Lowey, the position is a lesson that patience pays. | AP Photo
Rep. Nita Lowey — Bronx-born, Jewish and Mount Holyoke-educated — was tapped to be the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of that once hidebound Southern male enclave that famously resisted hiring even female secretaries for decades.
The 75-year-old New Yorker will succeed retiring Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) in the new Congress just as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) will move into the ranking spot on the House Financial Services Committee, replacing Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Together with Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) in the Rules Committee, they pose a remarkable trio for Democrats: women leading the opposition party in three of the House’s five most exclusive committees.