Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten have priorities ready ahead of Congress swearing-in

WASHINGTON (WLS) -- Lauren Underwood (D-IL 14) and Sean Casten (D-IL 6) will launch their political careers Thursday as they are sworn in to the 116th Congress, and they have their priorities ready.

The swearing-in comes in during a partial government shutdown that will demand their immediate attention. But on office move-in day, their mood was celebratory.

"Look you guys, you guys, 1118, we did it!" Underwood cheered as she and her staff entered their office for the first time. "Oh my gosh, this is the office, this is so nice! I am so excited!"

For Underwood, move-in day was one of pure joy. Casten's move-in was a family affair complete with a surprise visit from his parents. His wife and two daughters were also on hand, getting a look at dad's new office.

"It's a little bit like the frog in the boiling water," Casten said when asked if it feels real to him yet. "If you would have told me six months ago, or 12 months ago, that we were going to be having this conversation in this building, I would have said 'pinch me.' This is like a dream, there's no possible way."

Underwood said she was so excited to get to Washington and start her new job she had trouble sleeping.

"So being here in the office and knowing that tomorrow we will be live and open for business gives me great energy," she said.

Ending the partial government shutdown will be a priority for both these freshmen representatives, but they are also moving ahead with other issues important to them.

"I've authored two provisions that are in that rules package that will be coming before the body, before the floor of the House, that will be voted upon, related to #MeToo and #TimesUp," Underwood said.

"I've spent 20 years of my life trying to do something positive about climate change," said Casten. "That goal doesn't change because I have a different job, it's just given me a different set of tools to do it."

The swearing-in ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Central Time Thursday. Underwood, Casten and fellow freshman congressman Chuy Garcia (D-IL 4) will also all host open houses in their new offices Thursday.
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