WASHINGTON — It took less than 48 hours for Republican Rep. Brad Finstad to get from Tuesday’s counting of final votes to Friday morning’s swearing in.
New Ulm farmer, who was also an ex-official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, quickly gathered his family and went to Congress for a quick tutorial.
Jackie Finstad, his wife, and seven of his children, sat in the U.S. House Gallery. Finstad made the pledge to the residents of the 1 -st District after the House was givenled in to start another day of partisan bickering.
Finstad’s first day was marked by a contentious vote on a Democratic priority. It was the massive Inflation Reduction Act, which is a huge bill addressing climate change and health.
Finstad was sworn in by Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker. It had a celebratory bipartisan feel. Betty McCollum (D-4 th), the dean for Minnesota’s congressional delegation, introduced Finstad. She praised his “life in public service” as well as his experience in agricultural issues, something that the new freshman lawmaker loves to stress.
Finstad stated in his first speech to the House floor that he was “extremely honored” to be there.
Finstad stated, “As farmers, we don’t wake up wondering if anything will break during the day. We know it will. So instead, we wonder what we will do to fix it.” “I will go to Congress every day with the intent to fix everything.”
After the swearing-in ceremony, Pelosi took a photo with Finstad and told him he was the 431 first member. He also repeatedly complimented him for his “beautiful kids,” which include twin sons aged eight and eight years.
Pelosi stated, “This is just an image-op. But this is a special occasion for us.”
Finstad went on to meet privately with Kevin McCarthy, R -CA and had a second photo-op where he held a Bible in his hand. Finstad used the photo in a press release to announce his swearing-in.
Finstad defeated Jeff Ettinger, Democrat to fill the remaining term of late Rep. Jim Hagedorn. To keep his seat in Congress, which begins in January, Finstad will continue to challenge Ettinger (a former Hormel executive).
Finstad has taken over Hagedorn’s office in Longworth House Office Building. However, he could lose it in the next Congress, even if he is re-elected.
Finstad will be moving into his new office, but he also has many other things to do in Washington, D.C., when he isn’t campaigning in his South Minnesota district.
Finstad has not yet been assigned to any committees, but he said that he would like to be on Hagedorn’s Agriculture Committee as well as the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
He stated, “Transportation issues in southern Minnesota are important.”
Finstad must also hire staff to his D.C. office and district offices. He stated that he doesn’t know where these district offices will be. He said that he is still working on his budget for the office.
Finstad needs to learn about the unique culture of Capitol Hill. He’s on his way to grasping the most important GOP points of the day.
He stated that he was against the Inflation Reduction Act as it would fund “87,000 additional IRS agents” instead of addressing high prices for groceries and gasoline.
Finstad stated that the Minnesota vote was ‘no’ to him after his first vote in Congress.
Many Republicans, including Rep. Tom Emmer (R-6 ), say that the Inflation Reduction Act’s higher funding of the Internal Revenue Service puts ordinary Americans at risk of unjustified and even politically motivated audits.
The IRS would have to hire almost 87,000 additional employees through 2031 with the $80 billion in new funding. However, most of these hires would replace agency retirees.
Minnesota Republican House members were thrilled to see Finstad keep the 1 district in GOP hands for now.
Finstad is a farmer so Rep. Peter Stauber (R-8 th) predicted that Finstad would be the new member of the delegation. He also predicted that the new member would have a strong voice in the farm bill massive legislation which would reauthorize all USDA programs for five more years.
Stauber stated, “He’s going bring all that hardwork, get-it done mentality (to Congress),” Stauber said.
Emmer stated that Finstad, as a fourth-generation farmer, “truly represents all the best values of our state.”
Finstad indicated that he may arrange for a celebration in Washington, D.C. for his supporters, due to the difficulties they face in getting to Washington, D.C. for the “first-day” celebration in his Capitol Hill office.
He said that he would “take a deep breathe” and take his family to see the sights in Washington after Congress adjourned for the first day.