WASHINGTON D.C. – Two local Republican congressmen are sworn in Thursday, beginning their first term the same day Democrats retake control of the House.
Ben Cline and Denver Riggleman know challenges lie ahead, especially in the midst of a government shutdown. Although both newly sworn-in congressmen know that tensions are high in Washington D.C., they remain excited and told 10 News that a large freshman class could be exactly what's needed for bipartisanship.
A fresh start in our nation's capital came early for Cline who posted a video of an early-morning workout as he settled into his D.C. office before being sworn in.
Denver Riggleman also posted to Facebook, sharing the excitement, posting a picture of him alongside his wife and family in his new Washington D.C. office.
Cline told 10 News over the phone a major focus will be the economy and attracting new business.
“Let them know what kind of fantastic educated workforce we have, the kind of infrastructure we have, the internet capabilities we have. All of that can be improved and that's where I come in,” Cline said.
He said there could be room to gain federal help to improve Interstate 81.
“There's been a rumor that new speaker (Nancy)Pelosi may want to establish that tradition where you can name individual highways in that transportation bill, and give them priority. If that's the case, then we will seek to have 81 at the top of that list,” Cline said.
Although he's followed closely in his predecessor's footsteps ...cline said there are some differences between he and Bob Goodlatte.
He told us he has committed to joining the Freedom Caucus if invited. He said he also hopes to work more across party lines.
“I think we can only solve the problems we face as a nation if we work together,” Cline said.
But, like Riggleman, they both remain in strong support of the border wall.
Both agreed a new class of politicians could be what it takes to compromise.
“I think it is the biggest congressional class since World War Two,” Riggleman said. “I have a feeling that maybe there will be some common sense on both sides but again, we will see what the Democrats will do tomorrow. I'm happy to work with them but there has to be meeting on at least a common sense level about securing the border."
The first day of the 116th congress marked a lot of historic firsts.
A record number of women were sworn in, along with the first Muslim woman and another that's younger than 30.
Those history-making women come from both parties.