Hassan Becomes Second Female Governor Sworn in as U.S. Senator
Source: The Concord Monitor
Maggie Hassan was escorted by fellow Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen as she walked into the United States Senate Chamber on Tuesday to be sworn in as New Hampshire newest U.S. senator by Vice President Joe Biden.
The two senators hold the distinction of being the first and second women in the nation to serve as both governor and U.S. senator. Hassan was sworn in on Tuesday afternoon, using a bible her mother gave her when she was a child.
Hassan defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in the November election. She was previously New Hampshire’s 81st governor, serving since 2013.
After taking her oath of office, Hassan chatted with her new colleagues as she waited to sign the Senate registry. Her friends and family watched the proceedings from the Senate gallery, including husband Tom; her two children, Ben and Meg; mother Peggy; and two siblings.
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Hassan said her first day on Capitol Hill was busy, but “a very good day.”
Hassan said she was glad to be joined by her family, friends and other New Hampshire figures who had traveled down for the ceremony.“It’s nice to get started,” she said, adding that it was good to continue the tradition of celebrating the start of a new congress and “honoring our constitution, which has for all these years called for a peaceful transition of power.”
“It’s always nice to have family with you when you’re taking on a change, taking on challenges and thinking about the purpose you bring to the job,” Hassan said.
Hassan and other new senators were welcomed by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and by Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.
“Take a moment to celebrate the rich tradition of this day,” McConnell told the new senators. “I hope you enjoy these ceremonies with your families and colleagues as you embark on your new Senate careers. We know the coming days are going to require hard work and cooperation from both sides.”
Schumer had a similar message for his new colleagues, but took a much sharper tone when he spoke about upcoming policy fights.
The repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act is expected to be one of the first priorities of the Republican-controlled Congress, and one of the biggest showdowns between Republicans and Democrats.
Schumer’s message was clear: Senate Democrats are still prepared to fight for affordable health care and a fairer economy for middle- and lower-class Americans.
“The Democratic minority in the Senate has a very important task ahead of it,” Schumer said. “We’ll fight for our principles, we’ll fight for our values, and we’ll fulfill our solemn constitutional duty to hold the other branches of government accountable.”
Hassan said that while she will work to find common group and bipartisan compromise with her Republican colleagues, she reiterated Schumer’s call to hold President-elect Donald Trump true to his promises.
“It’s certainly our job to keep him accountable and stand up to him when we need to,” she said.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, New Hampshire’s Democratic Congresswomen Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter were also sworn in Tuesday.
The four women represent the nation’s first all-Democratic, all-female delegation.
Hassan handed over the reins of state government to Republican Senate President Chuck Morse. He is serving as governor until Gov.-elect Chris Sununu, also a Republican, is inaugurated Thursday.