U.S. Rep. Filemón Vela has been named a ranking member of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security.

The subcommittee oversees border and maritime issues related to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Vela currently is the top Democrat on the panel.

“I will have additional opportunities to advocate for South Texas and the entire border region,” Vela said in a prepared statement. “I will continue my efforts to address violence in Mexico and to ensure that our land and water ports of entry have the infrastructure, staffing and resources they need to ensure the safe and efficient flow of legal goods and travelers.”

As this 114th Congress convenes, Vela cites border policy and homeland security as critical issues.

“I look forward to having an expanded role as important decisions are made in Washington,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan is Vela’s Republican counterpart on the subcommittee and represents her state’s 10th Congressional District, located on the northern border with Canada.

The subcommittee will include seven Republicans and five Democrats.

Vela also will serve on the DHS Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, as well as the Committee on Agriculture.

Vela to lead Democrats on border and maritime security panel