Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith takes office in Washington

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Mississippi is sending its first female representative to Washington, DC.

Today Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith was sworn in to office by Vice President Mike Pence.

She opens up to our Washington reporter Alana Austin about the meaning of this day and what issues she will be focusing on.

“I am honored. It is a historic moment in Mississippi," said
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).

Cindy Hyde-Smith taking the oath of office on Capitol Hill Monday – becoming Mississippi’s newest senator.

She’s making history as the first woman to represent the state in Congress. She says she hopes it encourages other women to pursue their dreams.

“Being down there today and my 80-year-old mother and my daughter, sitting up there, with my husband and my family - surreal - very special moment in time," said Hyde-Smith.

Also attending the ceremony in the old Senate chamber, fellow Republican Senator Roger Wicker and Governor Phil Bryant. Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to replace Senator Thad Cochran, who retired recently amid health issues.

Hyde-Smith says she’s grateful for the support and is ready to hit the ground running for Mississippi.

“It was such a warmth down there, it really was. You know I just feel like I’m the most blessed woman in the world," said Hyde-Smith.

Hyde-Smith hopes to serve on the Senate Appropriations and Agriculture Committees.

Given her experience as the state agriculture commissioner and as a farmer herself, she wants Mississippi to benefit from the new farm bill.

“Agriculture is the number one industry in Mississippi, so it is very important to us,” said Hyde-Smith.

As she settles into her new office and job, Hyde-Smith won’t have much time before she has to run in a special election this November.

She has competition from fellow Republican Chris McDaniel, who has criticized her past affiliation as a Democrat.

She counters that she’s always held a conservative outlook.

“I have been elected twice statewide overall, overwhelmingly as a Republican, so we can put that to rest right now, we’re solid on that," said Hyde-Smith.

Now that Hyde-Smith is in office, Vermont is the only state remaining that has never had a woman representative in Congress.

Tuesday, Hyde-Smith is expected to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House.

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