Briefings: It’s Senator Warren, Neal’s Number 1…
UPDATED 1/4/13 4:01PM: Link to WBUR updated.
Standing alongside several of her new colleagues and in front of her all, too, temporary seatmate, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren was sworn in today as Massachusetts’s newest US Senator. Vice-President Joseph Biden, the official presiding officer of the Senate, sworn in all new Senators in groups of four. Warren’s group included South Carolina’s Tim Scott, the chambers only African-American, Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow, and Montana’s Jon Tester, who, was just reelected after a hard-fought contest, not unlike Warren’s race.
Biden kissed Warren on the cheek before conducting the oath. Fred Thys of WBUR reported that Biden apparently joked with Warren and her husband Bruce Mann that this was the first time he was happy to see her. Warren had been a presence on Capitol Hill in the years leading up to 2005’s bankruptcy reform legislation, which Warren opposed and for which Biden voted.
Both Thys and the Boston Globe also reported on Warren’s use of a bible she had owned since the third grade upon which she took the oath of office during her swearing-in reenactment. The Globe also noted that Warren would move into her more permanent office in early spring and was working out of double wide trailers along with several other freshman senators.
Across the Capitol, Massachusetts House members also took the oath of office en masse before casting their ballot for Speaker of the House (all voted for Nancy Pelosi). The Massachusetts House delegation lost 21 and 34 year fixtures with the retirement of John Olver and Barney Frank respectively. With the loss of a House seat, Olver’s district was dismantled and the First Congressional District now belongs to Springfield’s Richard Neal. Frank’s district was heavily edited, but maintained anchors like Brookline and Newton. He was succeeded by the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, Joseph Kennedy III.
With the new Congress also came some staff changes in Neal’s office. Neal campaign staffers Margaret Boyle, Liz Quigley and Dan Johnson joined the congressman’s staff as congressional aides. They were joined by Agma Sweeney, a Westfield City Councilor and former Olver aide and Pittsfield office aide Cindy Clark.
Neal’s district, which, as the former Massachusetts 2nd District, included Agawam, Chicopee, Northampton, Springfield, and points east of his hometown all the way to Norfolk County changed considerably in redistricting. The new 1st district, includes all of Hampden County and now Berkshire County, in addition to touches of wester Franklin and Hampshire counties and southern Worcester County.