Being the political nerd I am, I have actually been checking Jim's congressional website to see if he had announced what committees he would be on next congress. With so many more committee seats opened up to Democrats, and the new majority interested in holding marginal seats like Jim's, I figured he would get a plumb assignment.
But I never dreamt he would get one of the biggies. "Matheson has snagged one of eight Democratic seats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has broad authority and oversees several Cabinet-level departments." The article goes on to say him had to give up his other committee assignments. That is because Energy and Commerce is one of the "exclusive" committees--so powerful that to be fair to the 'losers' who don't get to be on them, you have to not be one ANY other committee.
"It's the most powerful committee in Congress," Matheson told the Trib. "It presents a great opportunity. It affects every American." By that he explained to the Deseret News that the committee's jurisdiction covers "five Cabinet-level Departments and seven independent agencies, including the departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, [and] Transportation [as well as] the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Communications Commission."
On this committee, Jim could very easily block nuclear testing in Nevada and Utah, as well as get his tax-porn and his enforce-video-game-ratings bills onto the floor. If the federal government really could effectively and legally (there's a First Amendment issue to be sure) tax porn, boy that could solve our budget deficit over night. That's because the porn industry is worth about $10 billion!
This just goes to show that it helps to have friends in high places: His chief of staff's husband is the chief in staff to incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.