ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Wednesday was a historic day with Joe Biden swearing-in as the 46th President of the United States. Kamala Harris also making history as not only the first female Vice President, but the first woman of color to hold the position. Local Congressman Paul Tonko was at the inauguration ceremony and witnessed it all first hand.
“Today as I realize it now, it was a response to a challenge. It was searching for light in the aftermath of a darkness,” said Tonko.
A dark time for our nation, happened exactly two weeks ago on January 6, when rioters broke into the Capitol building. Congressman Tonko was inside at the time, and is now sharing those terrifying moments he experienced.
“We saw plain clothed policemen draw their guns because the perpetrators were on the other side of those doors that were barricaded by furniture, and the like. You could hear shots being fired,” explained Tonko.
However, today was much more peaceful, as power was transferred to the new president.
“The message today on The Hill at the inauguration was that our democracy prevailed,” said Tonko. “And so I think the statement that I heard coming from the interpretation of the president’s remarks and actions today is that the greatness of America is very much akin to the goodness of America— the good in her people.”
Congressman Tonko wasn’t the only local representative to attend president Biden’s inauguration, so did congressman Antonio Delgado. In a statement he said,
“I congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris on their historic swearing-in and look forward to working with their administration to end the coronavirus pandemic and build America back better.”
And While she objected to President Biden’s Electoral College certification, Local republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik released a statement saying in part, “I look forward to working with their administration to deliver bipartisan solutions for New York’s 21st Congressional District.”
Democrats now have a majority in both the House and the Senate, but it’s a slim majority. Congressman Paul Tonko stated that there needs to be a greater reinforcement of unity that has to happen, so that the American people can see results and heal this this divide in our county.