ARIZONA NEWS

Democrat Mark Kelly sworn in as next US senator from Arizona

Dec 2, 2020, 12:23 PM | Updated: 2:48 pm
(Screenshot/CSPAN)...
(Screenshot/CSPAN)
(Screenshot/CSPAN)

PHOENIX — Mark Kelly was sworn into the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, officially giving Arizona two Democratic senators for the first time in almost 70 years.

Kelly was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence using a bible passed down from his wife’s grandmother.

He was accompanied by fellow Democratic U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who was donning a purple wig and an animal-print robe.

Among those watching from the visitors’ gallery were his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., and Scott Kelly, his twin brother and fellow retired astronaut.

It marked the first time Arizona had two Democratic senators since January 1953.

“I’ve faced challenges serving our country at war and in space, and as our country faces new challenges I am ready to serve again and get to work fighting this pandemic that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans and led to hardship for countless others,” Kelly said in a statement.

Kelly didn’t have to wait until January to start his new job because voters chose him to fill out the term of the late Sen. John McCain in a special election.

The former astronaut, who defeated Republican Martha McSally in the Nov. 3 election, joins the Senate at a time in which lawmakers and President Donald Trump are deadlocked over whether to provide a pre-holiday COVID-19 relief package worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

They’re also trying to address year-end budget work and a defense policy bill.

Kelly cast himself as a problem-solving centrist during his campaign. His slender 2 percentage point victory over McSally suggests he will be part of Democrats’ moderate wing.

“I look forward to partnering with Mark Kelly to cut through Washington dysfunction and deliver results for everyday Arizonans,” Sinema said in a statement. “I am confident Mark will uphold the Arizona values of seeking common ground and putting country above party.”

His arrival reduces the Republican edge in the chamber to 52-48 with two runoff elections in Georgia still to come Jan. 5.

If Democrats win both, they will command the 50-50 chamber for the new Congress that begins in early January because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast tie-breaking votes.

Kelly is the fourth astronaut to be elected to Congress. John Glenn was a Democratic senator from Ohio and Harrison Schmitt was a GOP senator from New Mexico. Republican Jack Swigert was elected to the House from Colorado, but died of cancer before taking office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(File KTAR News Photo/Matt Bertam)...
KTAR.com

Woman accused of smuggling 108 pounds of meth across Arizona port of entry

A woman was charged last week after being accused of smuggling 108 pounds of meth across the U.S.-Mexico border at the San Luis Port of Entry, authorities said.
21 hours ago
(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)...
KTAR.com

East Valley bridge over I-10 to close for 2 weeks starting Monday

Guadalupe Road over Interstate 10 will be closed for two weeks starting Monday for work related to the Broadway Curve Improvement Project.
21 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Glendale Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Glendale police kill 15-year-old after he allegedly reached for a gun inside stolen vehicle

Police in Glendale on Wednesday shot and killed a 15-year-old who allegedly reached for a gun while he was inside a stolen vehicle, authorities said.
21 hours ago
(KTAR News Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signs bill investing more than $1B in water supply

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill Wednesday that allocates $1.2 billion over three years for projects to boost and secure the state’s water supply.
21 hours ago
(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

Arizona GOP Gov. Doug Ducey says abortion law in state will come down to courts

Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey expects the prevailing law on abortion in the state to be determined through the courts.
21 hours ago
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is interviewed in the KTAR News studio on July 6, 2022. (KTAR News Photo/Je...
KTAR.com

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey mum on endorsing his successor

With less than a month to go until Arizona's primary election, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey remains mum on his preferred successor.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Democrat Mark Kelly sworn in as next US senator from Arizona