Oklahoma’s 1st District is again represented in Congress after newly elected Kevin Hern was sworn in Tuesday evening.
Hern, a Republican, was elected Nov. 6 to succeed Jim Bridenstine, who resigned last spring to become head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Hern was able to take office immediately, instead of in January when the new Congress convenes, because the seat has been open.
Sworn in alongside Democrats Joseph Morelle of New York and Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, Hern said he has “lived the American dream” and concluded with “let’s get to work.”
Hern was introduced by 3rd District Congressman Frank Lucas, the longest-serving member of the Oklahoma delegation, who was himself a “special election baby,” as Lucas put it.
“Kevin is a person who is a reflection of the great 1st District of Oklahoma and a reflection of the kind of representative we want in the House,” Lucas said.
Hern’s first vote was to concur in Senate amendments to a bill authorizing an exchange of land in the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi between the National Park Service and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Hern has let it be known the past few days that he expects to follow in Bridenstine’s footsteps in at least one regard. He intends to back a nonestablishment candidate to lead House Republicans.
Hern said he intends to support Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus. Jordan came under fire earlier this year after dozens of former Ohio State University wrestlers accused a former team doctor of sexual misconduct while Jordan was an assistant coach in the program.
Jordan has denied knowledge of the incidents.
The leading candidate to become minority leader is Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California. Oklahoma’s other three Republican House members — Frank Lucas, Markwayne Mullin and Tom Cole — are expected to support McCarthy.
Hern, a Tulsa businessman, campaigned on a pro-business agenda that closely follows President Donald Trump’s.