Washington: After serving as Maryland's House majority leader for over a decade, Kumar P Barve, the first Indian-American to be elected to a US state legislature, is set to lead a new House panel.
Democrat Barve, 56, elected to his 7th four-year term last month, has been named chairman of the newly designated Environment & Transportation Committee by Speaker Michael E Busch, according to Gazette.net.
"Delegate Barve has demonstrated time and time again his command of complex issues and he is a natural choice of someone to guide State environment and transportation policy," Busch said in a press release.
Barve, who has been a delegate since 1991, will leave his seat on the Ways and Means Committee to assume his new post.
The lawmaker said he felt great about the appointment and is excited to get started.
"I think it's a good fit for me in terms of issues that I've worked on before," he was quoted as saying. "I'm just fortunate that I was in the position to be able to step up and take it."
The committee, which was formerly the Environmental Matters Committee, will tackle both environmental and transportation issues.
Barve said he believes the decision to bring together both subjects under one committee is a smart and sensible move.
Son of immigrant parents from India, Barve's legislative work has focused largely on health care and the promotion of the high-tech industry in Maryland.
He sponsored both the 1995 Health Access Act that placed limits on Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) for the first time and legislation that created the Technology Development Corporation of Maryland.