WASHINGTON (WKBN) — Republican U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance has been sworn into office, replacing retired Sen. Rob Portman in the position.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Portman escorted Vance in the ceremony that took place Tuesday.
The new senator will represent Ohio for the next six years.
Though it was only his first day on Capitol Hill, Vance has already had conversations with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
Vance says Brown reached out to him after his win.
“He’s a Democrat, I’m a Republican — we’re going to disagree on most issues. But I think there’s some things we can work on together,” Vance says. “Where we can, we’re going to make sure we’re doing a good job for the people of Ohio.”
Vance plans on visiting the Mahoning Valley over the next few weeks, saying he wants to learn about the issues facing people in this area.
“Making sure people get to see me and get the opportunity to ask me questions … that’s all an important part of being a good senator for the people of Ohio, and certainly for the people of the Mahoning Valley,” Vance says.
When it comes to the supply chain, Vance says that as a whole, he would like to see the country be able to produce its own products.
“We made this horrible mistake, where we decided in this country we didn’t need to make our own stuff anymore — and unfortunately suffered more from that decision than maybe any other part of our state,” he says.
When it comes to companies like Foxconn and Ultium Cells making products for the electric vehicle, Vance say he’s for it but doesn’t want to take away support for gas-powered vehicles.
“We can be pro-electric vehicle, and we can be pro-gas-powered vehicle. We have to let people make their own decisions,” Vance says.
Even though Tuesday is officially his first day on the job, Vance says he believes other senators share similar concerns when it comes to the production of electric vehicles.
“The EV industry is part of a broader supply chain. Where is the lithium coming from? We want to make sure that we are doing that stuff here in America, not in China. Where are the critical materials coming from?” Vance says.