WASHINGTON — For the first time in a dozen years Ohio has a new representative in the U.S. Senate. JD Vance was sworn in Tuesday on the floor of the Senate with the man he's replacing, Senator Rob Portman and the state's senior Senator Sherrod Brown standing behind him.
"You know one of the things I was thinking is of course just how incredibly fortunate I am to have been given this responsibility and this honor by the people of Ohio and I think both sides of that equation are important," Vance told News 5 when asked what was going through his mind.
"This is a great honor, this is an incredibly majestic place. It's a place where a lot of great things have happened," he said. "You know, obviously, personally it's a huge day for me, a huge day for my family. We had my wife and a lot of aunts, uncles, cousins, mom and dad were all in the gallery, and I think that I won the award among the new senators for the loudest children in the gallery. I think the entire time I could hear my 2-year-old yelling 'dad' as loud as he possibly could."
"It was just an amazing experience but now the work begins," said Vance, who added he's anxious to get to work, even more anxious to know the committees he'll be getting to work on; assignments that still have not been handed out.
"Every person I have met today has asked me what the committee assignments are and I ask them 'do you know?' Because I certainly don't. It sounds like there's some tug of war between Republican leadership and Democratic leadership. We may not know until the end of January.
"I'd love to sit on Senate Armed Services. Obviously I care a lot about defense policy, I care a lot about how we fund the military of the future because we're not going to beat China with people, they've got 1.3 billion and we've got 300 million. What we can beat them with is smarter spending and smarter technology. So, I care a lot about those issues," he said.
"But there are a lot of committees where we can do some good work and so I put in my requests and we'll hopefully find out in the next few weeks how this all shakes out," he said.
Since the passing of the 17th Amendment allowing for the direct election of Senators more than a century ago, Vance is the first from Ohio to win a seat without ever having run for any office. Also at 38, he is the second youngest member of the body.
"I maybe bring a different perspective of what some of the economic problems look like for young families but I try to remind myself the people of Ohio elected me to represent all of the people of Ohio and that's exactly what I aim to do. So I have my biases for sure and I certainly have my perspective and hopefully we can use those things to our advantage to get some good work done."