First Democratic Alabama Senator in 25 years takes office

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Tonight, Doug Jones is officially a U.S. Senator for the state of Alabama. He was sworn in just hours ago by Vice President Mike Pence.

Our Washington Correspondent Alana Austin sat down with him in his brand new office for a one-on-one interview ahead of that ceremony.

Jones certainly shakes things up here on Capitol Hill as it leaves Republicans with only 51 members in the Senate - that likely makes it tougher for President Trump and the GOP to carry out their agenda.

Yet, Jones has positioned himself as a moderate on many issues. He is also Alabama’s first Democratic Senator in 25 years.

During our interview with him today, Jones says he’s going to work hard to unite the people of Alabama after a divisive election.

Alabama’s newest Senator, Democrat Doug Jones, takes office, after swearing in on his family bible. At his side today, his family and former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I’m going to hit the ground running to try to do all I can for the people of Alabama," said Jones.

Deep red Alabama elected a Democrat to the Senate in a special election last month.

The opening first came about when then-Senator Jeff Sessions became Attorney General. Republican Luther Strange was appointed as interim senator but lost in a primary race to conservative firebrand Roy Moore.

Many thought Jones didn’t have a chance until late in the race when accusations surfaced that Moore made inappropriate sexual advances toward teen girls decades ago.

Moore denied all allegations and has yet to concede.

Alana: “Have you spoken with him at all? And what do you make of him not conceding so far?”

Jones: “I haven’t spoken to him. I don’t make anything about it.”

Alana: “Ok. Do you think that it’s his duty to concede?”

Jones: “I’m not...You know, look, he’s got to be who he is. At this point, I’m going to do - I’m going to get sworn in at noon and that’s all that matters”

Jones says he’s staying focused on the issues at hand and sees promise in a working relationship with Alabama’s Senior Senator, Republican Richard Shelby.

“I’m going to lean on him for counsel and advice. He’s been in this body since 1986 and I know can be of tremendous help to me and I think together we can be a tremendous benefit for the state," said Jones.

Jones says he will represent Republicans and Democrats alike and also, actively reach out to all parts of Alabama, including the Wiregrass region.

He’s staffing up now and vows to travel across Alabama as often as he can.

“We want to make sure that our presence is known throughout Alabama, not just the northern part," said Jones.

We have been trying to get an interview with Shelby.

Today his communications director says he’s just getting back to DC today and they look forward to speaking with us soon about all these new developments.

We also reached out to the Roy Moore camp – and no comment from them as of air time.



 
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