New House members from Ill. sworn in

January 6, 2011 5:00:15 AM PST
After four years of being in the minority, Republicans are back in control of the House.

Cheers broke out among GOP lawmakers on the House floor as Republican John Boehner replaced Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Boehner was moved by the applause, shedding his first tears as House speaker.

All 241 in the new Republican majority voted for Boehner, while 173 Democrats backed Pelosi. In a rare rebuke for outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 19 Democrats voted for someone else.

Pelosi thanked her colleagues for helping her make history before she passed control to her successor.

"I'm grateful to my colleagues for their commitment to equality, which is both our heritage and our hope, giving me the historic honor of being the first woman speaker of the House of Representatives," Pelosi said.

"Hard work and tough decisions will be required of the 112thCongress. No longer can we fall short. No longer can we kick the can down the road. The people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin carrying out their instructions," said Boehner.

ABC7 spoke to Illinois' new representatives on the floor in the nation's capitol. Five new Republicans from the state are part of the new Congress.

It was a family affair for Illinois' new freshman class: 10th District's Robert Dold, Randy Hultgren from the 14th District, Joe Walsh representing the 8th District and the youngest person to serve in the 11th District in 60 years, Adam Kinzinger. All are Republicans from the Chicago suburbs.

"If you look at this freshman class, one of the things that makes this such a historic freshman class is the fact that the people coming to Washington, D.C., are coming from different backgrounds, not the typical track, not career politicians," said U.S. Rep. Robert Dold, (R) North Suburbs.

From a socially moderate Dold to a card-carrying tea party member Walsh, all have different ideas about what they were elected to do or undo.

"The American people didn't send us here to get things done. It may sound odd. They sent us here to stop what has been done," said U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, (R) Far North and Northwest Suburbs.

"If the Republicans think what they heard is that they have to reject everything that the Democrats are suggesting, then I think that they are sorely mistaken," said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, (D) Chicago and North Suburbs.

Repealing health care, or 'Obamacare' as many GOP members call it, is a priority for Illinois' Republican freshman class.

"We need to do this to make it clear that this is the wrong direction to go," Hultgren told ABC7. "I want to be involved. I also realize I have a lot to learn."

But 32-year-old Kinzinger said creating jobs should take center stage.

"I don't want to spend the whole year talking about health care again. We have to talk about getting people back to work," Kinzinger said. "We are anxious to roll up our sleeves and get to work."

As always with the passing of the gavel and a new Congress comes the talk of bipartisanship. Evanston Democrat Schakowsky has said she has yet to see any of that from Republicans. Dold, Hultgren and Kinzinger said say they are willing to reach across the aisle when it comes to spending cuts and will even consider the defense budget.

Walsh said he did not come to Congress to compromise.

"There is a part of me that could give a darn about the election in two years. We have a serious mission," he said.

The Democratic National Committee is on a serious mission to unseat Walsh in two years.

Walsh has made a name for himself by declining congressional benefits. He has also announced he is going to be sleeping on his couch in his office.

"This is my bedroom. This is not just symbolism. I live back home. I live in McHenry, Illinois and I love it there," Walsh said, as he showed ABC7's Sarah Schulte the space.

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