WASHINGTON — Karen Handel made Georgia history Monday evening, becoming the state’s first Republican congresswoman when she was sworn in by House Speaker Paul Ryan to represent Georgia’s 6th District.
The occasion came six days after she defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in a closely-watched special election that saw record levels of outside spending.
In a brief speech to her new colleagues from the well of the House, the former secretary of state started off with a joke.
“I’m not sure you’ve heard enough about this particular race,” Handel quipped, prompting chuckles from the crowd.”
“This is an extraordinary honor and the greatest privilege that I think I have ever had,” Handel said. “I look forward to serving the people of the 6th District, to serving the people of Georgia and to being a good coworker and friend to each and every one of you.”
Handel was introduced by the longest-serving Republican and Democrat in the delegation, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, and U.S. Rep. John Lewis. The Atlanta Democrat teased his newest colleague about hailing from the D.C. area.
“So you’re returning home…” Lewis said, before offering Handel help learning the ropes in Washington.
“Karen, the Georgia delegation … we are a family,” he said. “We are trying to do our very best to serve the people in our district and our state and to work on behalf of the people of this great nation. I welcome you and your husband Steve.”
Read more about Handel’s first day in office on myAJC.
Watch the ceremony here courtesy of C-SPAN: