California Republican takes oath of office to complete term of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Vince Fong of California was sworn into Congress on Monday after winning a special election to complete the remainder of the term of deposed former U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Fong was a member of the California State Assembly before running for the House. He was backed by former President Donald Trump and McCarthy, who watched the ceremony in person from the House floor. Fong's swearing-in gives Republicans a 218-213 majority.

Fong said that as he has traveled his Central Valley-based congressional district, he heard that Congress must do more to address the U.S.-Mexico border, stop the rising cost of everyday essentials and work to keep communities safe, among other priorities.

“I know that our concerns are very familiar with the concerns that all of you have heard,” Fong said. “We must do more to find solutions and deliver results.”

Fong defeated fellow Republican and Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux in a special election last month in the 20th Congressional District, in the state’s farm belt.

McCarthy is the only speaker in history to be voted out of the job. About two months after that historic vote, he opted to resign rather than serve out the remainder of his term. He has worked behind the scenes to promote Fong’s candidacy — a political action committee linked to McCarthy steered over $700,000 into the 20th District contest to boost Fong’s campaign.

Fong said he wanted to especially thank McCarthy, calling him a mentor and friend and saying “he has worked tirelessly for decades on behalf of the constituents of the Central Valley of California and our nation.”