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10 facts about 10 new members of Congress

December 27, 2012 by NCC Staff


Which new member of the House is a former reindeer farmer? Who is the biggest new tea party name in the Senate? Here’s a look at 10 new members of Congress with unique backgrounds.

The 113th Congress is sworn in on January 3, 2013, and it’s a diverse bunch.

There will be 90 new members of Congress to start the New Year, with 13 new senators and 67 representatives making their appearances in Washington.

The biggest names are in the Senate, with a superstar of the left and of the right getting top billing.

Elizabeth Warren defeated Scott Brown in Massachusetts in one of the most publicized races in 2012. Warren is seen as a new leader of the left, but the former Harvard Law professor was a Republican until 1995.

Ted Cruz is already being talked about as a 2016 presidential contender, even before he sets foot on the Senate floor. The Republican from Texas has tea party roots. He has also argued nine cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin is another high-profile name from the 2012 election making her Senate debut. Baldwin served 14 years in the House and is the first openly gay candidate elected to the Senate.

Maine’s new senator, Angus King, isn’t a Democrat or a Republican. King is a former governor who ran as an independent candidate in 2012. Since the 1980s, King has been involved with alternative energy products.

And Deb Fischer, the new senator for Nebraska, has a hands-on business background. She’s been in the ranching business since the 1970s, which could come in handy if votes need to be wrangled on the Senate floor.

The House has some interesting new members, including that professional reindeer farmer.

Kerry Bentivolio from Michigan is a newcomer to politics. Yes, he has reindeer and has worked as a Santa Claus portrayer, as well as a school teacher and engineer. He replaces Thaddeus McCotter in the House.

A better-known name is Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts. Just 32 years of age, Kennedy is the son of Joseph P. Kennedy II and the grandson of Robert Kennedy. He will represent Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District.

Florida’s Ted Yoho will represent the state’s 3rd District in Congress. Yoho’s career prior to politics was being a large-animal veterinarian. He used a grassroots campaign to defeat incumbent Cliff Stearns in a primary.

And there will be two doctors in the House--literally. Dr. Ami Bera will represent California’s 7th District. He is the former chief medical officer for Sacramento County. Raul Ruiz, also of California, has three graduate degrees from Harvard and has worked as an E.R. doctor in the past.

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