Michigan members of the United States Congress participated in the historic Jan. 20 inauguration of now-President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
As of Wednesday, Harris is the nation’s first ever female, Black American and Asian American vice president -- significant milestones for the U.S., particularly amid such a racially-polarized era.
For U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, from Michigan, Inauguration Day was a day of celebration for a more personal reason: He and Harris grew to become close friends as desk mates in the Senate during their freshmen terms.
“We got to know each other very, very well. I’ve gotten to know her husband well, my wife has gotten to know both of them very well, so it’s really personal,” Peters said. “And when you see a personal friend take the oath of office for the vice presidency, that’s pretty special. But, then you add on top of that the first Asian American and the first African American woman. It’s historic. So to have a personal friend making history, and to be able to witness that firsthand, is pretty special.”
Peters attended the inauguration in Washington on Wednesday, documenting some of his experience on Twitter.
We need to come together to address the challenges we face in this country. Thank you President Biden for such an inspiring speech.— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) January 20, 2021
Let’s get to work. pic.twitter.com/J2eL42YCL3
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who represents Michigan’s 13th congressional district, didn’t attend the Jan. 20 inauguration due coronavirus concerns -- but watching Vice President Harris take her oath of office still brought the congresswoman to tears.
“No matter the various differences I might have with this administration, at that moment -- watching the first-ever female, first-ever Black woman, first-ever South Asian woman, and even as myself, a child of immigrant parents -- watching the historic moment, I of course teared up,” Tlaib said. “I don’t think there was a dry eye in my house.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Tlaib issued a statement congratulating Harris and Biden and expressing hope for the future.
“I congratulate President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their historic inauguration. This moment will forever be remembered, as will the actions we take moving forward with this Administration to improve the lives of residents in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District and across the country.
“The last four years have brought dark clouds, and an enormous amount of pain and hate to every corner of the United States. From day one, the previous President blazed a path of destruction and self-interest. Today, we start a new presidency, a new administration, with hope for the future. I look forward to working with the Biden Administration to implement bold and aggressive policies advancing economic, racial, and environmental justice, as well as strong civil rights protections to ensure that every person has the ability to thrive. We must end the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure we provide much needed and long overdue economic relief to residents. I am pleased to see many of the day one actions released by the administration, and know they are just the beginning. The path toward unity and restoration of faith in this country must include action and possibility. We have much more work to do and I’m ready to help in any way that I can on behalf of our constituents.”Congresswoman Tlaib
Inauguration Day -- and the days leading up to it -- posed some concerns at Michigan’s Capitol Building and capital cities throughout the country amid threats of armed protests. Lansing was quiet on Wednesday, however, with fewer than a handful of people gathered outside the Capitol.
Still, Michigan State Police say their stepped-up security at the Capitol will continue until the middle of February. Leading up to Inauguration Day, a 6-foot fence was constructed around the Michigan Capitol Building and several law enforcement agencies had increased their presence in case any threats arose during expected protests.
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