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Historical two weeks in state and nation

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History is what we’re seeing as new elected leaders on the federal and state level begin their terms in office.

Last week, history was made in the Congress when 94 newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Indian Land businessman Mick Mulvaney, were sworn into office.

The Congress in the House hasn’t seen such an influx of new members in nearly 20 years. Most of the new members, including Mulvaney, are Republicans. In fact, 85 of the new members are Republicans, while only nine are Democrats. At least 35 of the new members have never held elective office before.

Mulvaney is succeeding John Spratt of York, a Democrat who held the 5th District congressional seat for 28 years. Mulvaney beat Spratt in the November general election to win the seat.

Of course, Mulvaney is one of the newcomers to Congress who has held office before, as he served one term in the S.C. House of Representatives and was the sitting District 16 state senator when he won the federal post. Now, there are a slew of candidates hoping to win his seat in the state Senate, which should make for interesting campaigning in the weeks ahead.

Mulvaney isn’t the first Lancaster County resident elected to Congress, but he will be the first county resident to serve there in more than 50 years. The last county resident to be elected to Congress was Heath Springs resident James P. Richards.

On the state level, Nikki Haley, another Republican, made history this week when she was sworn in as South Carolina’s first female governor. Haley is also the state’s first Indian-American governor, and she happens to be the nation’s youngest governor, too.

All these pieces of history are notable, though the fact that South Carolina now has its first female governor is probably the most significant of them all.

But as interesting as all these facts are, that’s not why any of these folks who made history were elected. They were elected to do a job, and that’s what they’ll be judged on. 

 With the economy still sluggish and unemployment levels high, our elected leaders in Washington and Columbia will face great challenges this year and next. We think it’s a safe bet that not many of us would really want their jobs.