The Senate convened its first session on the 113th Congress on Thursday. Incoming Senate freshmen, along with Senators re-elected in the 2012 election, were sworn in to office.
The 12-member freshmen class in the 113th Congress is made up of three Republicans, eight Democrats and one Independent. Among them is Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the first openly gay person elected to the Senate; and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), the first Buddhist, the first Asian-American woman and the first Japanese-born person elected to the Senate.
Incoming Senate members Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) are the first women elected to the Senate from their states.
Later, Vice President Joe Biden conducted a ceremonial swearing-in with each member just outside the Senate Chamber, which was attended by the Senators' families.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) returned to the Senate Thursday after suffering a stroke in January 2012. After re-learning how to walk over the last year, the Senator climbed the steps of the Capitol building at 11:30 a.m. Vice President Joe Biden, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attended.
The Senate for the 113th Congress is made up of 45 Republican Senators, 53 Democratic Senators and two independents, who join the Democratic caucus.