WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIVB) — The 27th congressional district will have a new representative Thursday.
Republican Chris Collins will be sworn in on Capitol Hill. He narrowly defeated Democrat Kathy Hochul, in November. The 27th congressional district encompasses most of Erie County, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and parts of Monroe County.
As a new member of Congress, Collins and his counterparts face one of the toughest challenges in history. They will hit the ground running after they are sworn in. The new term will begin almost immediately, picking up where the last Congress left off.
Collins will join 83 new members of the house and 13 new Senators. He says he is ready and excited for the road ahead.
Collins said, “I’m looking forward to being a part of this next debate on getting spending under control and our deficits under control, and dealing with the fiscal problems of our country.”
Collins will begin with issues including deep spending cuts that were tabled during the fiscal cliff talks this week. Plus, a bill to increase the nation’s debt limit. One of the first tasks will be to vote on a bill to provide financial relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Some of John Boehner’s fellow Republicans, particularly those from states affected by the storm, are outraged. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, "America deserves better than just another example of a government that has forgotten who they're there to serve.. And why." Collins says when the relief bill is brought up again, he plans to back it.
The 113th Congress will be the most diverse group of representatives ever assembled. In the Democratic House Caucus, for the first time white males will be in the minority.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “Together the diversity of our causes celebrates the strength of our nation.”
Overall, there will be nearly 100 women and 33 Hispanics, all eager to tackle the challenges ahead.
As for Collins, he says he got his official voting card Thursday and plans to elect the speaker of the house before the day is over.
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