Rep. Bob Turner (R-Queens and Brooklyn) was sworn in as congressman for the 9th District on Thursday, making him the first Republican to hold the seat since the 1920s.
Introduced by Reps. Peter King (R-Nassau) and Charlie Rangel (D-Harlem), Turner received resounding applause from the House — and then some laughter, after he started to speak without having been formally recognized by the speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio).
"The gentleman, ah, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Turner, is recognized," Boehner interrupted as Turner was in the midst of thanking the members, including the speaker.
"Thank you, Mr. Speaker," Turner said, turning toward Boehner's podium. Turning back to the microphone in the well, he then asked, "Now?"
Given the go-ahead to speak, the new congressman said, "It's with true humility that I accept this awesome responsibility. And I pledge not to forget how I got here. It was an important bipartisan election — that's the only way it can be done in New York City.
"And I'll also promise not to forget why I'm here, and that's the future," he continued, gesturing toward the seats right in front of the mike, where several of his grandchildren were sitting with King, "which is ably represented here by these handsome grandchildren, and not only the whole brood."
The family touch brought more applause, after which Turner said he would "follow a good example and be brief," ending his speech.
Turner later cast his first vote, backing a bill that would bar the Obama administration from preventing the Boeing aircraft company from building some new jets in South Carolina. Boeing, based in Washington State, wants to build some of its planes in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, following a series of union strikes against the company over the years in Washington.
The union, backed by the National Labor Relations Board, says the move is an illegal attack on organized labor, while Boeing, and now a majority of the Republican-led House, says the company is creating jobs and has the right to build planes where it wants to. The bill passed 238-186, largely along party lines, with a handful of Republicans voting no and Democrats voting yes.