Louisiana's Dr. Julia Letlow was sworn into the United States House of Representatives Wednesday, making history as the state's first Republican congresswoman and narrowing the gap Democrats must keep to control voting majority.
Letlow took the place of her husband, Luke, after he died due to COVID-19 complications in December 2020. She won her seat during a special March election.
Her appointment to the House gives Republicans 212 seats, just shy of Democrats' 218 seats. Since tie votes fail in the House, that means Democrats cannot lose more than two votes from their party to pass legislation if the GOP fully opposes them, Fox News reports.
A pro-life advocate and mother of two, Letlow promises to "stand up for what is right and true" and says her choice to take up the mantle left by her late husband to serve in this seat was marked by a "calling" and "peace from the Lord."
Today as I start my journey in Congress, I choose hope. I want to be part of a revival of honesty, integrity and hard work within these hallowed halls. I will stand up for what is right and true, bringing hope of a better tomorrow for my children, and yours. pic.twitter.com/p3vSinttXG— Julia B Letlow, Ph.D (@jbletlow) April 14, 2021
Reflecting on her husband's tragic death in December, Letlow said, "I want to thank him for paving the way for me."
"Too many families like mine have experienced tragedy because of this pandemic," Letlow said on the House floor, after pledging her oath of office. "To those families: I see you, I hear you. And most importantly, I pray with you."
Upon her appointment in March, former President Donald Trump issued congratulations, saying her husband, Luke, was "looking down proudly from above."
Politico writer Nicholas Wu shared Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries' answer to concerns about Democrats' "slimmer margins" now that Letlow has officially been sworn in.
Asked on the challenges of having slimmer margins in the House after Rep. Julia Letlow is sworn in, @RepJeffries says "we remain incredibly unified"— Nicholas Wu (@nicholaswu12) April 14, 2021
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So far, three Democrats have left the House of Representatives to join the Biden administration, including presidential adviser Cedric Richmond, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
Last week, longtime Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., died after a battle with cancer. There is one vacant seat for Republicans after Rep. Ron Wright died in February.
Despite challenges potentially facing Democrats, and the challenges she endured to get to this point, Letlow is confident in where she believes the Lord led her.
"I truly believe everything has prepared me for this moment," she said. "I'm confident and ready to serve. I'm up to the task."
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