Rosen sworn in as senator, urges end to government shutdown

January 3, 2019
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Vice President Mike Pence administers a ceremonial Senate oath during a mock swearing-in ceremony to Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., accompanied by her family Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s new U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen said Thursday she was humbled to be sworn into office but said Congress needs start working to end the partial government shutdown.

She spoke to reporters by telephone from Washington, hours after taking the oath of office on the 13th day of the shutdown over money for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Rosen defeated Republican Dean Heller in November, and is the state’s second female U.S. senator, serving with fellow Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.

Rosen didn’t directly say whether she’d vote for a plan that funds the wall but said that Trump is “hung up on the idea of this giant wall” and speculated that “maybe he believes it plays well on television.”

She said the U.S. needs to use smart technology like drones to protect its borders as part of a comprehensive plan that also provides a pathway for people to immigrate.

“I think that the president should really come to the table and start talking about immigration reform.”

She concedes she will have challenges as a member of the Democratic minority in the Senate.

“We’re going to continue to speak up, to shout out, to agree where we can and to fight where we must to be sure that we can move things forward.”

She said she and Cortez Masto will work to stop efforts to revive the long-stalled nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, and was confident that Democrats now in control of the U.S. House will ensure it “will die over there.”

On whether she will support Heller if he’s nominated to replace Ryan Zinke as the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, she said she would treat him like any other nominee and support him if his views match what Nevadans think is important.

Heller’s name has been one of several that have been floated as possible replacements for Zinke, who left office Wednesday. Heller’s staff has not responded to questions about whether he’d be interested in the job.

He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an interview before Zinke’s resignation that he would not rule out a position with the Trump administration.

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