Illinois' GOP freshmen sworn in, ready to vote

January 5, 2011

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Dold at a campaign forum in September.

Lawmakers taking the oath of office Wednesday in Washington, D.C., include the five GOP freshmen from Illinois. The state's U.S. House delegation now includes more Republicans than Democrats.

With their first votes, U.S. Reps. Joe Walsh, Robert Dold, Randy Hultgren, Bobby Schilling and Adam Kinzinger voted to make John Boehner the new speaker of the House.

Kinzinger will now represent the 11th District, which includes Joliet, Kankakee and parts of Bloomington. He said he is relieved he will no longer have the mouthful of a title "congressman-elect" now that he's taken the oath of office.

"It was amazing, it was unreal, it was all that," Kinzinger said. "But then it came to the realization that I'm now being called upon to execute a job that's very important."

One of the first votes expected by the Republican-controlled House is a push to repeal the recent health care law. Calling it a "terrible law," Kinzinger said he will vote for repeal, as will U.S. Rep. Robert Dold.

"I believe that this law is a bad law. I believe there are things and aspects of it that are good, but I believe that we need to have broad, bipartisan support. I didn't like the way the process was taken, and will vote to repeal," Dold said.

It will be a largely symbolic vote, as the repeal is expected to stall in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Meanwhile, Dold is setting up his offices in Washington and Illinois, and he's working with a less than complete staff.

"I am far more in the camp that you should do things deliberately and make sure that you're making the right hires as opposed to the quick hires, but we've got a chunk of the staff filled out," Dold said.

Dold now occupies the House seat left vacant by U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. Kirk joined the Senate in late November. On Wednesday, he was sworn-in to a full, 6-year term.