Georgia’s newest U.S. senator, businesswoman Kelly Loeffler, has been sworn into the Senate.
Loeffler — the second woman to represent Georgia in the Senate — was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on Monday.
Traditionally, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., would have escorted Loeffler down the aisle in the Senate chamber, but according to his office he was out sick. Loeffler was instead escorted by Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican.
Loeffler spent the weeks leading up to the event by traveling Georgia, rallying for farmers and the rural economy. She will serve on the Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees.
Perdue, now the senior senator, is taking retiring Johnny Isakson’s place on the Foreign Relations Committee, and has been assigned to serve on the Senate Armed Services, Banking and Budget committees. Loeffler will replace him on the Agriculture Committee.
Isakson, a Republican beloved on both sides of the aisle, retired effective Dec. 31 because of health reasons.
Loeffler said she will defend her appointment by Gov. Brian Kemp in a special election in November that will appear on the same ballot as Perdue’s seat.
“Not every strong woman in America is a liberal,” she said during the press conference announcing her appointment. “Many of us are conservatives. And proud of it.”
Riley Bunch covers the Georgia Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites.