By Bryan Boggiano
Representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fl) was sworn in Saturday for her first full term in the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 20th Congressional District.
Cherfilus McCormick’s district includes Tamarac, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, North Lauderdale, Belle Glade, and parts of Sunrise, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Her swearing-in to the 118th Congress, initially scheduled for Jan. 3, was delayed due to the gridlock The House experienced when they failed to elect a speaker on 14 separate votes. On each ballot, the frontrunner was Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.).
Despite the GOP holding 222 out of 435 seats and 90 percent of them consistently supporting McCarthy, roughly 20 GOP representatives cast their votes for somebody else besides the eventual speaker.
The Democrats, including Cherfilus-McCormick, consistently voted for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for speaker. On most ballots, he received a plurality of the votes.
Since McCarthy needed a majority of the Republican members to support his bid for the speakership, the vote continued past Jan. 3, and representatives-elect could not be sworn in.
“Chaos. Confusion. Crisis. In the 117th Congress, House Democrats rallied in unity to pass landmark legislation to lower costs for working families, create better-paying jobs, protect school-aged children, and expand access to health care,” she said in a statement. “In the first 24 hours of the 118th Congress, House Republicans failed to unite and elect a Speaker.”
By Friday, the number of McCarthy detractors began to dwindle. On the 15th ballot, the narrowly Republican-controlled house elected him to the speakership. McCormick was sworn in Saturday morning just after midnight.
In her statement, Cherfilus-McCormick acknowledged the tough road ahead for Democrats, but she promised to persevere.
“The road ahead will be challenging, but Democrats stand ready to deliver for the people,” she said.
Cherfilus McCormick, a lawyer and Trinity Health Care Services CEO ran for the seat in both 2018 and 2020 against Rep. Alcee Hastings. After he passed away in April 2021, she declared her candidacy for the vacant seat.
She faced former Broward County Mayor Dale Holness in the November 2021 Democratic primary, winning the election by just five votes.
In January 2022, she faced Republican Jason Mariner and won roughly 79 percent of the vote in the predominantly Democratic district. With her victory, she became the first Haitian-American Democrat elected to Congress.
During her first term, she served on the committees on Education and Labor, Veterans Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Foreign Affairs. She belonged to the Congressional Black, Progressive, and LGBTQ+ Equality caucuses.
In November 2022, she won reelection against Republican Drew Montez-Clark with roughly 72 percent of votes cast.
- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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