Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Freshmen congress sworn-in

Halvorson sworn in Tuesday, To serve on ag committee

Debbie Halvorson, D-Crete was among the new members of the 111th Congress sworn in when the session convened Tuesday morning.

Halvorson was among 54 new members of the House of Representatives. She replaces ex-congressman Jerry Weller, R-Morris, who admid ethical questions, decided not to seek re-election.

Halvorson, a former Illinois state senator, defeated Marty Ozinga, III, R-Homer Glen and Jason Wallace, G-Normal in the November election.

She resigned her position as Illinois Senate Majority Leader one day before her swearing-in.

The freshman congresswoman has been assigned to the agriculture committee.

The other new member of the House from Illinois is Aaron Schock, a Republican from Peoria.

At 27-years-old, Schock is the youngest member of the 111th congress. He replaces Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, who retired. LaHood has been tapped by President-elect Barack Obama as Secretary of Transportation.

There were also nine new members of the U.S. Senate sworn-in Tuesday. They did not include "Illinois junior senator" as Roland Burris is calling himself. Burris, the former Illinois attorney general, was appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich who is free on bond after being arrested Dec. 9 for alleged corruption involving the sale of the senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Blagojevich is currently facing impeachment proceedings in Springfield. Despite being told that any appointment he made to fill Obama's senate seat would not be recognized, Blagojevich made the appointment anyway.

Burris vows to fight for the senate seat in court.

Another senator not sworn-in was Al Franken, of Minnesota. Franken is a well-known commedian who in 2004 launched progressive talk radio network, Air America.

As of Monday, Jan. 5, Franken defeated incumbent Norm Coleman. Coleman is currently challenging the official certification that gave Franken the win by 225 votes.

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