Elaine Luria is one of 535 members of the 116th Congress who took their oaths of office Thursday amidst the partial government shutdown.
The former Navy commander defeated Republican Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL, in November to take over his seat.
Luria told 13News Now her top priorities in office include addressing sea level rise, flooding, and access to quality, affordable healthcare.
After her win in November, the business owner from Virginia Beach said she was excited to work with the Virginia delegation.
“It is the honor of my lifetime to serve in Congress and represent Coastal Virginia, and I look forward to working on behalf of every person living in my district,” Congresswoman Luria said. “Everything I do will be informed by what makes Virginia and America stronger. I’ll work tirelessly to honor our service members, veterans, and military families; protect Social Security and Medicare; safeguard our environment; speak truth to power, and make affordable health care more accessible.”
All new members of Congress will take the following oath Thursday:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
The Congressional Research Service created a guide to the proceedings on the Senate Floor which breaks down what will happen on the first day for the new Congress:
Both the House and Senate convened at noon. One of the first acts in the House: electing a Speaker.
Shortly before 1:30, Rep. Luria joined her Democratic colleagues in casting her vote for Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
The freshman congresswoman also directed the House Administrator to withhold her pay until the government shutdown is over.
"I do not believe it is fair or appropriate for Members of Congress to continue to receive their paychecks while federal employees and their families suffer," said Luria. "Congress should not be awarded for poor performance."
In one of her first votes on the House Floor, Luria supported legislation that would end the shutdown and reopen the government.