Jan. 4, 2017 

Gottheimer sworn in to House seat as 115th Congress opens

The 115th U.S. Congress was sworn in on Tuesday, and among the 59 freshman members was the new House representative from New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from Bergen County, said the swearing in ceremony drove home the magnitude of the job he would be undertaking for the next two years.

“It’s an enormous honor,” Gottheimer said on Tuesday. “I think sitting in the House chamber it’s very clear the trust that the people of New Jersey’s 5th District have bestowed on me. It’s an enormous responsibility and honor.”

Gottheimer defeated Scott Garrett, a seven-term Republican from Wantage, in one of the country’s most closely watched congressional races during November’s general election.

The 5th District includes 19 of Sussex County’s 24 municipalities, as well as parts of Bergen, Passaic and Warren counties.

In Sussex County, Garrett earned just over 58 percent of the vote, while Gottheimer received 37 percent, according to the county’s official election results.

Gottheimer said he plans to get right to work on issues that directly impact his constituents.

One of those key issues will be the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more often referred to as Obamacare. National media outlets have reported that President Barack Obama plans to meet with congressional Democrats on Capitol Hill today to discuss preserving his signature healthcare law.

Gottheimer said his stance on Obamacare has not changed since the campaign. He said he still supports certain aspects of the law — such as the ability for people up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance and the provision that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions — but that there is “plenty that needs to be fixed” including elements like the medical device and “Cadillac” taxes.

Gottheimer reaffirmed his position on guns Tuesday, stating that he believes in the Second Amendment and that “people have a right to bear arms,” but that he also believes “equally in common sense gun legislation.” He said he would fight to ensure that people with mental health illnesses do not get their hands on guns and to close the “gun-show loophole.”

The former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and Microsoft executive has also gone on record saying he does not “believe we should raise taxes,” but rather the country needs to look at its expenditures. Gottheimer has been vocal about his intention to see that more federal dollars come back to a state that only receives about 33 cents in grant money for every dollar in federal taxes it sends to Washington.

Gottheimer, like most Democrats, has also said he does not support reducing Social Security.