Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY) has just been sworn in as the member of the House of Representatives for the NY-23 district, after winning this past Tuesday’s special election and picking up a previously GOP-held seat for the Democrats.
His certificate of election has not been finalized yet, but the outcome of the race is not in any doubt, and his Conservative Party opponent Doug Hoffman conceded the race. Thus, Owens was able to be sworn into office as soon as was practical.
The following is the prepared text of his first speech to the House:
“I am honored to be here with you all today, and to join you in our continuing effort to build a better, stronger America. This is a proud day for me and my family but it is also a sad day for our country. The shooting at Fort Hood last night that claimed the lives of 13 fine Americans is a stunning reminder of how quickly the peace we enjoy here at home can turn to violence, and how heavily we rely on our brave men and women to keep us free from harm. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, and with our soldiers to whom we owe our safety and our freedom.
“I’d like to thank my family for being with me, and for standing behind me every step of the way. To my wife, Jane, my three children, Jenna, Tara and Brendan, and my three grandchildren Caroline, Tommy and Tess, I know that I could never have made it without you, and I am grateful for your support and for all the laughs we had along the way.
“I also want to thank the people of New York’s Twenty Third Congressional District, whose work I begin today. Conscious of the challenges that face us, I am eager to join my colleagues in finding bipartisan solutions to health care, energy, our farm crisis and our struggling economy.
“My family and I came to Plattsburgh when I transferred to Plattsburgh Air Force Base. When I left the Air Force, we decided to stay and make our home in Upstate New York but I remained committed to serving my country and my community. That’s what I have tried to do throughout my life in Upstate New York, and is the reason I ran for Congress.
“I am proud to begin a new chapter of service to my country and remain hopeful that if we continue seeking out bipartisan solutions to the problems that face us, we can build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren. I pledge to work hard each and every day that I am honored to serve to see this come to light.