By Journal Staff
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rhode Island Congressman James Langevin will serve as speaker pro tempore of the U.S. House of Representatives for the opening session of the 116th Congress Thursday, according to a press release from his office.
“Presiding over the House of Representatives is an incredible privilege, and I am honored Speaker-designate [Nancy] Pelosi has given me the opportunity to take the gavel on opening day,” Langevin said. “The American people elected our new Democratic majority to enact a more positive and forward-looking agenda. Serving as Speaker pro tempore tomorrow reaffirms our commitment to creating a more inclusive government that works for everyone.”
Democrat Langevin, who is the first person with quadriplegia elected to Congress and has represented Rhode Island’s Second District since 2001, is the co-chair of the House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus. He first took on the role in 2010 after a series of lifts were installed to make the speaker’s rostrum wheelchair-accessible. On that occasion, he presided over the House as the chamber considered a resolution in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“As Speaker, when America marked the 20th anniversary of the landmark, bipartisan Americans with Disabilities Act, it was my honor to implement changes to our institution to make it possible for our colleagues with disabilities to preside over the House,” said Speaker-designate Pelosi. “Now, it is my great honor and joy to build on that progress by selecting Congressman Jim Langevin to serve as the first Speaker Pro Tempore of the new Congress. Together, we are proudly reaffirming a fundamental truth: that in our nation, we respect people for what they can do, not judge them for what they cannot do.”
According to his office, “Langevin will manage debate on the first day of the new Democratic majority and as the House prepares to vote to end the Trump shutdown.”