January 4, 2017 at 11:05 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Van Hollen, local members of Congress sworn in

Vice President Joe Biden, right, swears in U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Jan. 3, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Ian Jannetta/Office of U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen)

Vice President Joe Biden, right, swears in U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Jan. 3, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Ian Jannetta/Office of U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen)

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is among the new senators who were sworn in on Tuesday.

Van Hollen, who previously represented Maryland’s 8th congressional district, easily defeated House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore and Harford Counties) last November. The pro-LGBT Democrat succeeded former U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) who announced her retirement in 2016.

“Today I took an oath to the serve our great nation and the values of freedom, justice, and opportunity so beautifully articulated in the Constitution,” said Van Hollen in a statement after his swearing in. “I am humbled by the confidence the people of Maryland have placed in me, and I am ready to get to work to tackle our many pressing challenges.”

Raskin, Brown, McEachin sworn in

Congressman Jamie Raskin, who succeeds Van Hollen in the U.S. House of Representatives, also took office on Tuesday. Former Maryland Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown, who succeeds former Congresswoman Donna Edwards, was also sworn in.

Virginia Congressman A. Donald McEachin also took office on Tuesday.

McEachin introduced a series of pro-LGBT bills when he represented portions of Richmond and its suburbs in the Virginia Senate. He succeeds former Congressman Randy Forbes, who unsuccessfully ran for re-election in the state’s 2nd congressional district.

A three-judge panel with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled last January that Virginia lawmakers placed too many African American voters into the 3rd congressional district.

The ruling prompted the districts to be redrawn. The Virginian-Pilot and other media outlets indicate McEachin may have benefitted from this decision.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to produce and advance legislation to benefit all Americans and I will continue to stand up for our values and principles,” said McEachin in a statement his office released after his swearing in.

Don McEachin, gay news, Washington Blade

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) swears in Virginia Congressman Don McEachin on Jan. 3, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Jamitress Bowden)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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