Rep. Mark Takano (left) and other members of Congress take the oath of office on Jan. 3.

WASHINGTON – Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) was sworn on Jan. 3 in to serve in the 117th Congress.

This will be his fifth term representing California’s 41st Congressional District and his second term serving as chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

“As we gavel in the 117th Congress, our nation is facing one of the worst public health and economic crises in our history,” Takano said. “Today we mourn the loss of 350,000 Americans who have passed away due to COVID-19, nearly 2,000 of them in Riverside County.

“In this new year, millions are unemployed, families cannot afford to pay for their basic needs, and the threat of the virus is ever so present. Behind the staggering statistics we are seeing in California and across the country are relatives, friends, and neighbors – it’s truly heartbreaking, but we can’t give up hope.

“We will defeat this virus, but it’s going to take all of us doing our part, including taking the vaccine when it becomes available to us.

“Helping all of our communities survive this pandemic and recover is going to require thoughtful and empathic leadership and bold action to get us through and emerge stronger than before. I stand ready to continue fighting for more economic support for people in our community and for legislative solutions that will move our country forward by addressing the climate crisis, giving more power to workers, supporting students and teachers, and ensuring that veterans have access to the healthcare and benefits they’ve earned.

“In just 17 days, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated, and I look forward to working with him and his administration to deliver urgent relief and build back better for the American people.

“It is an honor to represent California’s 41st District. I’m keeping our community in my heart today as this Congress prepares to tackle the challenges ahead.”

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