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New La. Rep. Vitter Joins House

June 8, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ House Republican leaders welcomed a new colleague Tuesday: David Vitter of Louisiana.

Vitter replaces former Rep. Bob Livingston, the House speaker-in-waiting who resigned from Congress after acknowledging having had extramarital affairs.

Republicans now outnumber Democrats 223-211 in the House, with one seat held by an independent who votes with the Democrats.

Vitter said he was ``honored, humbled, awestruck″ to be in Congress.

His goal, he said, is to become at ease and comfortable with members and the ways of the House ``but never to become so at ease and comfortable that I lose these feelings of honor, of humility, of awe.″

The 38-year-old former Rhodes scholar made a name for himself in Louisiana politics by pushing a term limits bill for state lawmakers through a reluctant legislature in 1995. He’s also noted more for his ability to get under the skin of his fellow politicians than for a willingness to compromise.

Vitter ran an antiestablishment campaign and, in a runoff last month, defeated the state’s former Republican Gov. Dave Treen despite Treen’s endorsements from several high-profile politicos, including Livingston and Gov. Mike Foster.

Livingston, the former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced his resignation as the House debated the impeachment of President Clinton. He has opened a Washington lobbying firm since leaving in February and returned to the House floor for Vitter’s swearing in.

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