Tom Suozzi sworn into the House of Representatives

Tom Suozzi sworn into the House of Representatives
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi's former Congressional headshot. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Newly elected Congressman Tom Suozzi was sworn in Wednesday night to officially claim the seat left by ousted rep. George Santos, narrowing the majority held by Republicans in the House of Representatives.

“Mr. Speaker, I never thought I’d be back here,” Suozzi said. “But the Lord works in mysterious ways and God made a way when there was no way.”

Two weeks before he was sworn in, Suozzi defeated his challenger Nassau County District 10 Legislator Mazi Pilip (R–Great Neck) in a special election to finish the term left by Santos.

With 100% of the precincts reporting, Suozzi had won 91,338 of the votes to Pilip’s 78,229 – nearly 54% to 46% – in a race with unexpectedly high turnout despite snow early Election Day.

Suozzi’s win represented the first significant victory in a major race for Nassau Democrats in three years and has national political implications as he shrinks the House’s Republican majority to a 219-213 split.

Suozzi, who had described himself as a middle-of-the-road Democrat, ran on a bipartisan platform and a promise to work across the aisle to deliver to his constituency.

These assurances were not left out of his speech after being sworn in, continuing his calls to find solutions through bipartisan compromise.

“Mr. Speaker, on the night of my election victory I promised the people of Long Island and Queens I would deliver a simple message to this chamber: ‘Wake up!’” Suozzi said. “The people are sick and tired of the finger-pointing and petty partisan bickering. They want us to work together.”

A front-running issue in the special election campaign was border security amid talks for a bipartisan Senate deal that would aid in securing the border.

While Suozzi said the deal was not perfect and omitted aspects he wanted – like pathways to citizenship for dreamers and TPS recipients – he advocated for its passage and continued to do so Wednesday night in calls for bipartisan solutions. The bill was struck down after being blocked by Senate Republicans in early February after former President Donald Trump expressed his opposition.

“Sadly, many of the people in America believe Democrats and Republicans can’t work together,” Suozzi said. “They’ve told me, ‘Tom, wake up. You’ve got to face the real world.’ But the real world is not something we must simply face. The real world is something that we as free men and women actively create. We make the real world.”

Suozzi took a moment during his speech to acknowledge the concerns of his constituents and the greater American public, including the rising cost of living, border security and the wars in Israel, Gaza and Ukraine.

“They look to Congress, and what do they see?” Suozzi asked. “The extremists are getting all of the attention. We are letting ourselves be bullied by our base. We aren’t getting anything done. We need less chaos and more commonsense.”

Johnson delivered the oath of office to Suozzi, which was administered on an 1803 Bible published in New York and loaned by the Library of Congress.

Suozzi directly spoke to the House Speaker in his speech referencing his prior calls for cooperation among representatives and asking for more of that to be advocated for in the House.

The newly elected congressman also called Johnson out on his statement claiming Suozzi ran a campaign “like a Republican.”

“I know you meant that as a compliment,” Suozzi said. “Let me be clear, Mr. Speaker: I am a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool, Democrat. But more important, like you, Mr. Speaker, and the men and women in this chamber, I am a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool American.”

Suozzi’s swearing-in was met with cheers and a standing ovation throughout the House floor for the returning Congressman, with Johnson seen joining in with applause. Notably, many House Republicans sat amid the praise.

“The people of New York’s 3rd Congressional district have elected a representative with the experience, character and commitment to solve problems confronting everyday Americans and deliver for his constituents,” Nadler said. “…He’s the kind of person we need serving in this House at this moment and it gives me great pleasure to reintroduce him as our colleague.”

Suozzi will serve in the House to finish Santos’ term through the end of the year. The seat will be up for election again in November, which Suozzi previously said he would run for again.

“We all know what politics has become, let’s think about what it could be,” Suozzi said. “While I may be the only one being sworn in today, what if we all see this as a fresh start? What if we all took this chance to break some of our bad habits? What if today, we remembered why we ran for office in the first place? Let’s get back into the solutions business.”

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