Webb sworn in with 110th Congress
Just over half of Virginia voters thought it had a nice ring to it and now they can officially say it: Senator Jim Webb.
Today, the Democrat will become the junior senator from the Old Dominion with the swearing in of the 110th Congress just after noon. He is one of 11 freshmen in the Senate and, more importantly, one of 51 Democrats. That puts the Dems in charge for the first time since 2002.
Considering that Webb's win over George Allen was the victory that decided that razor-thin majority, Webb has gotten a little better treatment from his party than most freshman senators. He received every committee assignment for which he reportedly asked, including the powerful Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees. By contrast, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), whose narrow defeat of incumbent Conrad Burns made the Senate an even split at the time, wanted to sit on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee but was denied that prestigious appointment.
Webb's legislative agenda remains to be seen, but since getting elected he has emphasized changing the current policy on Iraq, enacting a new GI Bill for soldiers who enlisted after 9/11, expanding Second Amendment rights, and bringing "true fairness back to economic life."
UPDATE: One local connection to the freshman class of 2007 is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) who graduated from UVA School of Law in 1982. That makes for a grand total of seven UVA law alumni in the Senate along with Evan Bayh (D-IN, Class of '81), Kit Bond (R-MO, '63) , John Cornyn (R-TX, '95), Ted Kennedy (D-MA, '59), Bill Nelson (D-FL, '68), and John Warner (R-VA, '53). That's just as many current senators as Harvard Law, and more than the other six law schools ranked above UVA on the U.S. News and World Report list combined!