Ayanna Pressley and Lori Trahan were sworn in. Here’s what happened.

"I’ll be the one that will walk down that aisle runner and eventually I raise my hand and take an oath. But I don't do that alone."

Ayanna Pressley and Lori Trahan
Ayanna Pressley and Lori Trahan. –John Tlumacki, Globe Staff/Pat Greenhouse, Globe Staff

Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley and Lori Trahan officially joined the ranks of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation Thursday as both lawmakers were sworn in amid a historic wave of women and people of color voted in during last year’s midterm elections.

Pressley, the Bay State’s first black congresswoman, and Trahan, the successor to retired 3rd District Rep. Niki Tsongas, took the oath of office on Capitol Hill among 101 freshman representatives whose election swayed the House of Representatives to a Democratic majority for the 116th Congress.

Speaking with WGBH‘s Joe Mathieu, Pressley indicated Thursday morning that she doesn’t plan on wasting any time getting started.

Advertisement

“I’ve got a couple of some legislation I’m already working on that’s in the queue,” the former Boston city councilor said. “I’m excited to share that with folks. I came here to legislate and I’m excited to do that.”

Pressley beat out longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano to take the helm the 7th District in an upset in last year’s September primary that gained national attention.

Trahan emerged victorious from a crowded party primary and eventually went on to beat Republican Rick Green for Tsongas’s seat in November’s general election.

Both Pressley and Trahan, standing among over 100 women elected to Congress — a record high — this past cycle, were surrounded by their families in Washington, D.C., as they took the oath Thursday.

Trahan was joined by her husband, David, and her daughters, Caroline and Grace.

“I’m so proud to have my daughters with me as I am officially sworn in as a Member of Congress,” she wrote in a tweet. “Ready to get to work for #MA03!”

Alongside Pressley were her husband, Conan Harris, and her stepdaughter, Cora Harris.

“I’m happy for the Mass. 7th [District], that we have a champion who will fight and lead us,” Conan Harris told reporters on the street.

Advertisement

Also in tow for festivities inside Pressley’s new congressional offices were a few familiar faces from home, including several Boston city councilors who served alongside the congresswoman in City Hall over the past decade.

“I’d like to think I’m not standing here alone,” Pressley told WGBH, when Mathieu recalled meeting her in a temporary office last year with uncertainty surrounding her campaign. “I mean it’s no different than the primary or the general election day. Your name is on the ballot but you’re representing so many more people than just yourself. So, I’ll be the one that will walk down that aisle runner and eventually I raise my hand and take an oath. But I don’t do that alone.”

She spent the morning at a swearing-in ceremony for the Congressional Black Caucus — which now touts its largest number of members ever in its nearly five-decade history at 55 legislators — where her introduction was met with significant applause.

Both Pressley and Trahan were sworn in as a partial government shutdown entered its 13th day over President Donald Trump’s demands that Congress fund the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats also carried the majority vote to elect California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House for a second time over Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California.

“When our new members take the oath, our Congress will be refreshed and our democracy will be straightened by their optimism, idealism, and patriotism of this transformative freshman class,” Pelosi said.

Advertisement

Within their first moments in Congress, Pressley and Trahan were also slated to dive into what would likely be a contentious debate over a funding bill needed to reopen the government.

“Now it’s head down focus on governing and improving the lives of the American people and of course I’m most focused on the Massachusetts 7th district,” Pressley told WGBH. “But I do understand that every vote that I take is much broader than the district that I was sent here to represent. And so I’m excited to get to work in the process of governing. So please, you stay tuned.”

Close

Get the latest breaking news sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.
Local
2 dead in Maine house fire
January 19, 2019 | 10:04 AM