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Congress Ushers In New Members, Including Two From Oklahoma

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Jim Bridenstine and Markwayne Mullin. Jim Bridenstine and Markwayne Mullin.

Congress ushered in the new and the old - dozens of eager freshmen determined to change Washington and the harsh reality of another stretch of bitterly divided government.

The 113th Congress convened Thursday at the constitutionally required time of noon for pomp, pageantry and politics as newly elected members of the House and Senate were sworn in and the speaker of the Republican-controlled House was chosen.

Jim Bridenstine and Markwayne Mullin are the two new faces from Oklahoma. Bridenstine represents the First District in the Tulsa area and Mullin the Second District with covers all of eastern Oklahoma

Jim Bridenstine said he voted against speaker John Boehner because he believed the party needs new leaders.

"We lost seats in the House. We lost the Senate. We lost the presidency. I just thought it was time for new leadership," Bridenstine said.

There are 12 newly elected senators - eight Democrats, three Republicans and one independent, former Maine Governor Angus King, who will caucus with the Democrats. They will be joined by Representative Tim Scott, the first black Republican in decades, who was tapped by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to fill the remaining term of Senator Jim DeMint. The conservative DeMint resigned to lead the Heritage Foundation think tank.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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