Hundreds of Elizabeth Warren supporters turned out this afternoon for a ceremonial swearing-in of the state’s newest senator at Roxbury Community College.
Warren officially joined the 113th Congress Thursday at a ceremony in Washington, but decided to re-enact the event locally for her Massachusetts supporters and constituents who couldn’t make the trip to the official swearing-in.
Warren, who garnered a reputation on the campaign trail as a firebrand, didn’t disappoint the crowd. In an emotional speech that was both solemn—as when she invoked the memory of Edward M. Kennedy, who once held her seat—and excited, she thanked supporters and vowed to be a force for the state.
“For everyone who worked in one way or another on this campaign, this is your day,” she told the audience. “I am deeply touched by the trust and faith you have put in me, and I pledge today that I will never, never, stop fighting for you.”
The mock oath of office was administered by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Warren’s former boss at Harvard Law School. A Warren aide said the two have remained friends as both transitioned from academia to public office.
Kagan’s nomination to the court was opposed by Warren’s predecessor, Republican Scott Brown, whom she defeated in November.
In her remarks, Warren said she was “particularly glad” to serve as the state’s first female senator.
The overflow crowd mingled with an all-star roster of Massachusetts Democrats, including Senator John Kerry, Governor Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley, outgoing Congressman Barney Frank, Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray, and Congressmen Ed Markey, Mike Capuano, and Stephen Lynch.
Warren, Patrick, and other speakers made repeated, joking references to Kerry’s expected confirmation as the next Secretary of State; he is expected to succeed Hillary Clinton in that post. If Kerry vacates his Senate seat to accept the position, Warren would become the state’s senior senator after just a few days of service.
That prompted Kerry to joke, “I was the junior senator for 26 years!”
Kerry quickly put aside humor, though, praising the record number of women in the Senate, reflecting on his tenure, and saying he had observed a “spirit of renewal” among the new class of senators.
As with Warren, Ted Kennedy’s legacy loomed large for Kerry.
“There isn’t a person in this room who wouldn’t give everything for me to still be the junior senator to Ted Kennedy,” Kerry said.