Biden Presidential Inauguration: Illinois politicians, leaders, unions congratulate new president, Vice President Kamala Harris

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Congratulations for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were offered by Illinois politicians from both sides of the aisle on Inauguration Day.

Congratulations from Congress

Senator Dick Durbin released a statement, saying in part, "Their inauguration comes during a time of unprecedented challenge for our country-more than 400,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus; a struggling economy; a deeply divided nation; and a climate in dire straits. As President Biden reminds us, the moment calls for sober reflection, but it also calls for national resolve.

"With President Biden and Vice President Harris in the lead, it is also a moment of hope. I am optimistic, now more than ever, that we can come together and overcome our challenges and divisions."

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Joe Biden delivers remarks after he is sworn in as 46th President of the United States.

Senator Tammy Duckworth also offered her supporting, saying in part in a statement, "After the last 4 years, I'm proud to be able to tell the American people that empathy, compassion and real leadership are finally back in the White House as a result of Joe Biden being sworn in as our nation's 46th President. ... Now is the time to come together to solve our nation's problems, get us out of this pandemic and rebuild an economy that works for everyone. I can't wait to get back to work under President Biden's leadership."

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL 5th District) released a statement, saying in part, "Today is a moment of hope for millions of Americans. After the darkness and division of the past four years, it was an incredible relief to hear President Biden speak above all else of unity.... I stand ready to work with President Biden and Vice President Harris to confront the crises before us and begin the difficult work of healing our nation."

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Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor.

Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL 3rd District) said she feels a new sense of calm in Washington following the inauguration.

"Yeah, on both sides actually, I think that there's just a calmness that has occurred as a result of the Biden-Harris administration being installed," she told ABC7 Eyewitness News. "I think people are relieved. They're joyful, they're looking ahead, they're planning what we can do together. And that's what's really exciting about moving forward."

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Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL 14th District) released a statement saying in part, "Today is a historic moment for our nation as we celebrate the Inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Vice President Kamala Harris... I look forward to working with President Biden and Vice President Harris to end the coronavirus pandemic, lower health care costs, save moms' lives, address the climate crisis, and root out corruption. There's a long road ahead, but I'm ready to get to work--and I know they are too."

Congressman Chuy Garcia (D-IL 4th District) said in part, "President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are ushering in a new chapter of hope and healing for a nation deeply divided. President Biden reminded us that our Democracy is strong and that together we can overcome any challenge. He spoke directly to families devastated by the pandemic and pledged to support diverse, working class communities like those I represent, recover from the economic crisis."

"I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to advance a national strategy to beat the virus, provide additional stimulus relief that includes mixed-status and immigrant families, and to create a bold infrastructure package that promotes equity, access, and sustainability. Congress must hold corporations, big banks, and big tech accountable to their workers and the public and we must deliver affordable and accessible healthcare and education for all. Finally, we must end the prison to deportation pipeline, give all immigrants the dignity of due process, and ensure America remains a nation that welcomes all. Together we can move our country forward," Rep. Garcia added in his statement.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9th District) was in attendance for the ceremony Wednesday morning.

"All of it, I thought, was just beautifully done but the speech, I thought was just perfect. It is a wonderful talk, not so much about policy, but about unity. And I felt soothed," she said. "It was a relief. It was, I think it was just a relief and the message is so different from what we've been hearing for four years."

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Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL 6th District) released a statement, saying, "After four years of corruption, cruelty, and deadly incompetence in the White House, today marks the beginning of a new day for America. With today's swearing-in of President Biden and Vice President Harris, glass ceilings will be shattered, and a new era of truth-telling and integrity will begin. ...Today marks the beginning of brighter days, hard work, and good trouble."

Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL 11th District) released a statement saying in part, "I was honored to attend the historic inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. This inauguration represents the end of a dark and shameful period in American history spurred by a demagogic President. While our democratic system bent these past four years, today's peaceful transfer of power shows the world that it did not break. Our democracy is resilient, and it endures."

The well wishes were not limited to the president's own party, as Republicans reached out across the aisle.

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U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL 13th) said in part in a statement, "Joe Biden is now our Nation's president and Kamala Harris is our vice president. I wish them success, for when they succeed, our Nation succeeds. My family and I will be praying for them. It was an honor to be able to witness the peaceful transition of power for the second time of my tenure in Congress."

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Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL 18th District) also released a congratulatory statement, saying, "I congratulate President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their inauguration. The 59th presidential inauguration marks an important tradition of the peaceful transfer of power that has made us uniquely American for over 200 years, and I am proud to participate in the events today."

"No matter the political party of the president, America will remain the greatest country on earth. I wish President Biden, Vice President Harris, and their families good health and wisdom as they begin their term," the statement continued.

State Leaders Wish New Administration Well

State leaders were also quick to welcome the new administration Wednesday.

"Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris. We made history today, and I hope this is the start of a period of healing, kindness and decency for our country. As President Biden said, we have been tested, but I believe in the basic goodness of the American people, and I look forward to better days ahead," said State Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) in a statement.

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State Rep. and Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan released a statement, saying, "Congratulations to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their historic inauguration. Today let's celebrate turning the page on a difficult, dark and dangerous chapter in our nation's history. Together let's start a new chapter where healing can begin - healing for the many families who have lost loved ones, those who have lost jobs due to the pandemic and healing the wounds of division and hatred that do not represent the best in us. As we witness the swearing in of the first female vice president and first vice president of Black and South Asian descent, we feel hope for the future and the many generations of leaders who will follow."

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul also released a statement of congratulations, saying in part, "It has been said but bears repeating: today marks a new day for our nation. I applaud the return of decency to the White House and am encouraged that the Biden-Harris Administration will put our nation on a path toward recovery. ... "I, along with my colleagues, have had the opportunity to meet with Biden-Harris Administration leadership to learn more about the new administration's priorities and approaches to policy. As a result of those meetings, I feel encouraged and confident that our nation will again be set on the right path and our international reputation restored. The new administration has committed to working with states, and I look forward to working with them to address the significant challenges our nation faces. Today, decency is restored."

Other leaders, organizations congratulate Biden and Harris

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich congratulated the new administration in a statement, saying, "The Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Chicago joins our prayers with those of Pope Francis for the new President and First Lady, Vice President and Second Gentleman, and we extend our warmest wishes as they assume their new service to the nation. Only two weeks ago, the world watched as our democracy was attacked. Today, we proved its resilience. The new administration begins in a time of global pandemic, economic peril and deep division, when millions of our brothers and sisters have been brought low by illness, poverty and racism. We pray that the way forward will be inspired, as the Holy Father asked, by dreaming together."

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery released a statement saying in part, "Today fills me with tremendous hope for the future of our unions, students, and educators because it marks an end to the blight our democracy suffered under the Trump and DeVos administration. With the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we begin a new chapter where decency and civility are the standard, and where unions and educators are valued and respected again by our country's leaders.

The Chicago Federation of Labor released a statement saying in part, "Congratulations, President Biden and Vice President Harris. Though the challenges ahead of us are daunting, the working people of Chicago and Cook County are ready to partner with your administration to rebuild and strengthen this nation for all workers. Let's get to work."

The president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri Kansas issued a statement saying in part, "We celebrate the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris today and we celebrate the policies they have offered forth to date. These are crucial steps in the right direction for immediate action on the pandemic, for economic relief, for the provision of much needed healthcare, child care and home care services, for workers' rights-and last but decidedly not least-a Federal minimum wage of $15.

Planned Parenthood Illinois Action said in part, "As the eyes of the world turn from the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago to today's inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) welcomes this change in leadership and the ushering in of a pro-reproductive health care agenda."
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