WASHINGTON (CBS) — Former Illinois State Rep. Robin Kelly was sworn in Thursday as the new congresswoman in the 2nd District, two days after winning an easy victory in the special election to replace the disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr.
She was sworn in twice — once officially by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and once ceremonially by Vice President Joe Biden. In her comments in the House, she stressed her commitment to combating gun violence, passing comprehensive immigration legislation, creating jobs and improving the health care system.
“I ran for Congress so that I could work to bring about a safer, less violent and more prosperous future, one in which our children can grow up without the fear of gun violence,” she said on the House floor after taking the oath of office.
“I look forward to working with you to protect our children from criminals and protect our Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens, because we should and can do both,” she said.
Gun control was her signature issue during the campaign. But she told reporters during a mid-afternoon conference call that her top priority in office will be economic development and that it includes a third airport.
“It is my vision also,” she said.
One of the stumbling blocks toward moving ahead has been the issue of who should control the airport. Kelly said she favors a regional commission that would include representatives from south Cook, Will and Kankakee Counties, instead of control by one county.
She almost immediately took two vote. But when speaking with reporters she could not remember what they were or how she voted. A spokesperson told WBBM that Kelly voted in favor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, whose backers say it would help to guarantee equal pay for equal work. The second vote was against a proposal to shut down the National Labor Relations Board.
Jackson, son of human rights leader Jesse Jackson, resigned in November after citing health concerns and acknowledging he was under federal investigation. He pleaded guilty in February to spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal expenses.
The district stretches from 53rd Street on Chicago’s South Side through south Cook and portions of Will County, to include all of Kankakee County.
With Kelly’s addition, the lineup in the House became 232 Republicans, 201 Democrats and two vacancies.