Robin Kelly Sworn Into Congress

New congresswoman replaces Jesse Jackson Jr., who bowed out after 17 years in office amid scandal

The newly elected replacement for convicted former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. officially was sworn into office Thursday.

Robin Kelly easily won the special election in Illinois' second congressional district, beating her closest challenger, Republican Paul McKinley, with 72 percent of the vote.

Kelly's swearing took place in the House chamber of the U.S. Capital Building on the same day a vote was taken on tighter gun laws.

Gun violence was Kelly's main issue in her congressional sprint, earning her prime ad money from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Super PAC and an endorsement from President Barack Obama. In her victory speech after winning the Democratic primary, Kelly took direct aim at the National Rifle Association.

"You sent a message that was heard around our state and across the nation," Kelly told supporters, "a message that tells the NRA that their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end."

Again on Tuesday, Kelly spoke of a bumpy road ahead in her quest to keep families safe from gun violence. "To those who say that we won't be able to make Congress do anything on gun control, who think this Tea Party Congress can't be beaten, I've got two words: Watch us."

Kelly will have big shoes to fill: Jackson was a 17-year incumbent who served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and brought home nearly $1 billion to the district. He also had strong relationships with mayors, activists and voters across the district that includes city neighborhoods, suburbs and some rural areas.

Jackson resigned in November. He pleaded guilty in February in federal court to lavishly misspending $750,000 in campaign funds.

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