WATERTOWN — North country and state elected officials from nearly every level of government congratulated Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala D. Harris on becoming president and vice president shortly after their inauguration Wednesday.
Many officials referenced the challenges the country has faced in recent months, from the pandemic to political division and economic decline, and expressed hope that President Biden and Vice President Harris will be up to the task of addressing them.
Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, was one of the first north country officials to express her congratulations to the president and vice president.
In her remarks, she said while the country has faced significant challenges in recent months, she feels “blessed to live in the greatest country on Earth.”
“I am grateful to President Trump and Vice President Pence for their hard work, service and strong record of achievement for the American people over the last four years,” she said in a prepared statement. “I congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris on their swearing in, and I look forward to working with their administration to deliver bipartisan solutions for New York’s 21st Congressional District.”
President Biden and Vice President Harris’ inauguration demonstrated Americans’ resolve and optimism for the future, U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said in a statement.
“While our nation continues to face an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, the inauguration was a moment of hope and the start of a journey to not only recover from the pandemic, but to rebuild and strengthen our nation,” Sen. Gillibrand said. “To see my friend Kamala Harris, a daughter of immigrants, be sworn in as our nation’s first woman vice president and first Black and South Asian vice president, was a truly historic and unforgettable moment. President Biden will be a president for all Americans and I’m ready to work with him to lay the foundation for a brighter future.”
State Assembly Minority Leader William A. Barclay, R-Pulaski, who represents parts of Oswego, Jefferson and Onondaga counties, issued his congratulations shortly after President Biden concluded his inaugural speech.
“As the 46th president enters the White House, I hope his tenure is defined by collaboration, achievement and success,” he said in a press statement.
Assemblyman Barclay acknowledged that President Biden is taking the executive office at a time when national politics are sharply divided, and called for unity moving forward.
“Political differences will always exist in a true democracy, and diversity of thought is part of what makes us great,” he wrote.
Assemblyman Mark C. Walczyk, R-Watertown, offered his congratulations to the new president in a short statement Wednesday.
“I wish him a successful four years,” he wrote.
State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, said Wednesday’s inauguration marks a new beginning of hope for the nation.
“The inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris brings a sense of hope and relief that Americans have desperately needed, especially following nearly a year of immeasurable loss and suffering caused by this global pandemic,” Assemblyman Heastie said in a statement. “We know the road ahead will be challenging, but my colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority look forward to working with our new partners in government to restore our position, both as a state and nation, as a global economic leader and a bastion of progressive values.”