Tina Smith joins a busy Congress, stepping in for embattled Al Franken

Tina Smith joins a busy Congress, stepping in for embattled Al Franken

Tina Smith joins a busy Congress, stepping in for embattled Al Franken

Tonight, Doug Jones is officially a U.S. Senator for the state of Alabama. Jones' wife, Louise, and their son, Carson, watch the ceremony.

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones on Wednesday was sworn in as the southern state's newest USA senator, trimming the Republican majority to 51-49. Only two Senate Republicans also have black chiefs of staff: Sens.

"I'd like to extend a particular welcome to our two new senators who were just sworn in", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) said later from the Senate floor.

The Senate seat was given over Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith.

Shortly after being sworn in, Smith told KSTP she's ready to dive into urgent issues like preventing a government shutdown and reinstating funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that could mean $178 million for Minnesota's state budget. That led to her becoming involved in local politics, and eventually she served as the vice president of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Minnesota Citizens for Life President Leo LaLonde called Smith an "abortion industry insider" and the state's pro-life majority "will have no representation in the Senate", according to LifeSiteNews.

In taking the oath, Smith became the 22nd woman in the 100-member body, a record high level.

"Though I never anticipated this moment", Smith said last month when Gov. Mark Dayton announced her appointment, "I am resolved to do everything I can to move Minnesota forward".

True to his reputation as a flip-flopper, Romney has also stated contradictory positions on LGBT issues.

Political experts say with her name recognition and fundraising ability, Bachmann would be a formidable Republican opponent.

SMITH: "It has been my great honor to serve the people of Minnesota as our Lieutenant Governor".

Jones: "I'm not.You know, look, he's got to be who he is".

DAYTON: "I have worked with many superb public officials during my forty-year career; Tina Smith stands foremost among them".

"Minnesota has more people with health insurance than nearly any other state, yet I have talked to farmers who have lost access to their longtime doctors and can't afford their health insurance premiums", she said.

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