On this first day of the 2011 legislative session, the Iowa House and Senate observed moments of silence for the victims of Saturday’s shooting rampage in Arizona which injured a congresswoman and killed six.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs focused his opening-day remarks on the tragedy.
“An elected representative was gunned down while doing what each of us do every day: listening to the hopes, the questions and the suggestions of our neighbors, friends and other constituents,” Gronstal said.
Gronstal suggested the incident had been an “attack” on our system of government. “So today, the 2011 session begins in a more somber moment than usual, but with a renewed sense of our responsibility to our constituents, our state and our nation,” Gronstal said.
The oath of office was administered to the 100 members of the Iowa House shortly after 10 o’clock this morning. The group of 23 state senators who were elected to a four-year term in November took the oath of office at about a quarter ’til 11. The Republican from Red Oak who won a special election last week will be sworn by early next week, as the votes haven’t been officially certified yet. Another senate seat remains open. Senator Larry Noble resigned to become Iowa’s Public Safety Commissioner. A special election to select a replacement will be held January 18.