Jan 13, 2009
Morris Daily Herald - Halvorson retakes oath, reaffirms her promises
You will always know what's going on, says new Congressman Debbie Halvorson of her upcoming two-year stint in the nation's Capitol.
"We have a big job to do," the Crete Democrat told about 50 friends and supporters Monday, during her in-district swearing-in ceremony at the Will County Board office. "The next few years will be difficult. But, we're in this together."
Halvorson succeeds retired Morris Republican Jerry Weller in the seat for the 11th Congressional District. She told her supporters she looks forward to many years of representing the district - "if you so choose."
Throughout the election campaign, in which she defeated Republican businessman Marty Ozinga of Homer Glen, Halvorson emphasized her bipartisanship and her ability to reach across the aisle to the Republican Party.
Halvorson was Democratic Party leader and 12-year member of the State Senate prior to her election to Congress.
"Party doesn't matter when you want to do the best job you can," she said Monday. "The government is your government. We're just there to bring that voice back to you. We're going to need to bring proactive, energetic, and bold leadership back to the United States."
She called for dedicated and creative leadership to jumpstart the nation's economy and create jobs, minus the partisan bickering she said has dominated politics the past several years.
"This is not a time to focus on partisan fights or point scoring," she noted. "Or on politics that distract us from furthering good government, job creation, and making small businesses thrive. This is a time to get down to business, work together, and make our government work for us."
Halvorson spoke of President-elect Barack Obama, with whom she served in the General Assembly before he was elected to Congress as the junior senator from Illinois.
"Mr. Obama has some great ideas and he has put together a good cabinet," she said.
She touched on the nation's economy during her brief message, and mentioned her volunteerism at food pantries and community distribution centers during the election campaign and after.
"People are hurting," she said. "They are having trouble putting food on the table and sending their kids to college. We need to make these times better."
She announced the opening of her district office in Joliet, at Two Rialto Square, 116 N. Chicago St., Suite 401.
In closing, Halvorson repeated her campaign pledge to never let her constituents down.
Third Appellate Court Judge Mary Kay O'Brien of Essex, former Democratic state representative in the 75th District, spoke briefly on her friendship with Halvorson, which began when the two were working on their elections to the General Assembly.
"Debbie wasn't working for Democrats or Republicans, but because she truly liked people," O'Brien said. "She was not a party politician, and she took that message to Springfield"
O'Brien said Halvorson has always cared about helping people.
"When I heard she was running for Congress, I thought, 'What a good idea,'" O'Brien said. "This woman brings hope, change, and your voice to Congress. I wish her well, and I'm happy to be a part of helping her do her best."
Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots performed the swearing-in.
The Rev. Issac Singleton of Joliet gave the blessing.
"We pray to God all those elected be people-minded and do good for mankind," he said during the prayer.
Will County Administrator Larry Walsh was master of ceremonies and introduced Halvorson to the audience.
"This is a wonderful event for Debbie Halvorson," Walsh said in thanking her for coming back to the district from Washington for the ceremony.
The pledge was led by a group of students from the elementary schools in Joliet.