Michigan’s Gary Peters Is Lone Democrat Out Of 13 New US Senators

LANSING (AP) – Michigan has its first new U.S. senator in 14 years.

Gary Peters was sworn in Tuesday to replace Carl Levin. Peters is the only Democrat among 13 freshmen senators in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“I am truly honored that the people of Michigan have entrusted me to represent them in the U.S. Senate,” said Sen. Peters in a release.

Peters, who was joined by family as he took the oath on his mother’s family bible, stated, “My top priority will continue to be fighting for Michigan’s middle class families and working with both parties to bring practical, commonsense problem-solving to Washington. In order to tackle the tough challenges facing our state and nation, we must put partisanship aside and work together to achieve solutions that reinvest in manufacturing, support small businesses, and strengthen our overall economy.”

Peters, who previously served six years in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been appointed to four committees: Commerce, Science and Transportation; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and the Joint Economic Committee.

There also are five new Michigan members of the GOP-led U.S. House. They include Republicans Mike Bishop, John Moolenaar and Dave Trott and Democrats Debbie Dingell and Brenda Lawrence.

Peters says a top priority is securing federal funding for a customs plaza as part of a planned multibillion-dollar, government-owned bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Peters says the bridge is possibly the most important infrastructure project in the country.

He isn’t indicating if he’ll vote to approve construction of the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline, saying it will depend on amendments he plans to propose.

CBS Detroit digital reporter Edward Cardenas contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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