Seven incoming House members to watch

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More than 70 incoming lawmakers will be sworn into the House this January after winning their races earlier this month.

Republicans are poised to control the House next year, with 220 seats having been called in their favor compared to Democrats’ 213. Two races remain uncalled.

Next year’s crop of first-term lawmakers in the House includes 37 Republicans and 35 Democrats who hail from 32 states across the country.

Here are seven to watch:

Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.)

Democratic candidate for Florida's 10th Congressional District Maxwell Frost speaks
Democratic candidate for Florida's 10th Congressional District Maxwell Frost speaks

Frost is set to become the first Gen Z member of Congress. The 25-year-old community organizer will represent Florida’s 10th Congressional District after beating his Republican opponent by roughly 20 percentage points.

He is poised to become a leading progressive voice in the next Congress, advocating for liberal policies and serving as a representative for the youngest generation of voters, which broke decisively for Democrats this cycle.

“[I’m] excited to be here with my future colleagues in the Progressive Caucus, because we’re gonna be pushing and pushing and pushing for a world that works for every single person, no matter who they are,” he said days after the election at a Progressive Caucus press conference at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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In an interview with PBS, Frost said “the economy is top of mind” and zeroed in on affordable housing and increasing wages as key issues.

Frost characterized his victory as part of the “bigger puzzle” of getting more young people involved in government.

“I think it’s important that we have young people at the table. Look, I’m not one of these people that say we need to take out all the old folks and just have young people. It needs to be diverse, right, in age, in race, in gender, in economic status and experience,” he said.

Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.)

Rep.-elect Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.)
Rep.-elect Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.)

Hageman is sure to be the center of attention when she is sworn in as Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) replacement.

Hageman, a Trump-endorsed attorney, overwhelmingly beat Cheney, one of former President Trump’s most outspoken Republican critics, in a primary this summer, all but assuring her the general election victory.

The constitutional and natural resource attorney will join the ranks of Trump defenders on Capitol Hill as the former president makes another run for the White House. She previously said the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” against Trump.

During her victory speech, the congresswoman-elect thanked the former president for his support.

“Today we have succeeded at what we set out to do: We have reclaimed Wyoming’s lone congressional seat for Wyoming,” Hageman said. “But I did not do this on my own. Obviously we’re all very grateful to President Trump, who recognizes that Wyoming has only one congressional representative, and we have to make it count.”

“His clear and unwavering support from the very beginning propelled us to victory tonight,” she added.

Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.)

Rep.-elect Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.)
Rep.-elect Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.)

Goldman won’t be a new face on Capitol Hill — or to many Americans — when he gets sworn in next year.

The former federal prosecutor served as the lead counsel for House Democrats during Trump’s first impeachment investigation and hearings in 2019-2020.

Goldman, who was assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York for 10 years, has been a fixture on cable news since then, offering legal analysis on the myriad investigations involving Trump.

In Congress, the New Yorker vowed to be a “bulwark” against the former president.

“He will be front and center and in conjunction with the House Republicans that he still controls,” Goldman said of Trump during an interview with PIX on Politics Sunday. “I would expect to see more abuses of power and more excessive conduct that is extremist conduct, really, that the American people don’t want anymore. And I look forward to being in Congress as a bulwark against that.”

Aside from Trump, the congressman-elect said he plans to focus on housing, mental health treatment, substance abuse, homelessness and crime.

Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.)

Rep.-elect Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.)
Rep.-elect Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.)

Van Orden will be closely watched in Congress next year, after the retired Navy SEAL attended the Jan. 6, 2021, rally on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., and walked to the Capitol afterwards.

He beat Democratic state Sen. Brad Pfaff to represent Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District in the House, flipping the Badger State seat red. He will replace retiring centrist Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), who held the seat since 1997.

Van Orden has struck a distinctly more bipartisan tone since his election, telling PBS Wisconsin, “I fully understand that 48 percent of the voters in this district did not support me and I plan on representing them as equally as the 52 percent that did.”

But he’ll join the ranks of Trump-backers in the House just as the former president continues his crusade to disprove the 2020 results and win another term in 2024. And he remains mired in controversy.

Van Orden contends he never entered the building on Jan. 6 and left the premises after “it became clear that a protest had become a mob.”

“When it became clear that a protest had become a mob, I left the area as to remain there could be construed as tacitly approving this unlawful conduct. At no time did I enter the grounds, let alone the building,” he wrote in an op-ed published by the La Crosse Tribune days after the Capitol attack.

But in June 2021, The Daily Beast published a photo of Van Orden before the Olmstead Lantern which, according to the Architect of the Capitol, is on Capitol grounds. According to The Washington Post, Van Orden has not called the authenticity of the photo into question.

Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.)

Luna is poised to become an outspoken member of the House Freedom Caucus, telling The Washington Post she plans to join the conservative group known for stirring controversy within the party after its political action committee endorsed her and funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into her campaign.

The Air Force veteran also secured endorsements from Trump and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.). She has said Trump won the 2020 presidential election and that voter fraud occurred.

Luna made history on Election Day, becoming the first Mexican American woman to be elected to Congress from Florida. Her victory over former Obama aide Eric Lynn flipped the Sunshine State’s 13th Congressional District red. She will replace former Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), who left the seat to run for governor.

Luna spent time with some of her future colleagues earlier this month when she attended a gathering of the Second Amendment Caucus. Kyle Rittenhouse — the teenager who was acquitted of homicide related to the killing of two people in Kenosha, Wis., during a protest in 2020 — was also in attendance.

Cory Mills (R-Fla.)

Rep.-elect Cory Mills (R-Fla.)
Rep.-elect Cory Mills (R-Fla.)

Mills, who has already aligned himself with a contingent of Republicans opposed to allocating more funding for Ukraine in its battle against Russia, will be a lawmaker to watch in Congress as it weighs whether to do just that.

Mills worked as a Department of Defense adviser during the Trump administration and appeared at a press conference with GOP House members last week where Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) unveiled a privileged resolution to audit the funds allocated to Kyiv by Congress.

The congressman-elect lent support to the measure.

“Americans deserve transparency of where their money goes. That is our job as elected officials,” he said at the press conference. Separately, the incoming lawmaker told Florida’s Voice, “I personally would not vote for any continuance of funding.”

The White House earlier this month asked Congress to appropriate more than $7 billion in additional support for Ukraine. Assistance to Kyiv has received broad support from Republicans in both the House and Senate, but a small faction of GOP lawmakers in the lower chamber — which could grow after Mills’s victory — has been opposed to more funding.

Mills, a U.S. Army combat special operations veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and received a Bronze Star in 2006, beat Democrat Karen Green to represent Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

Summer Lee (D-Pa.)

State Rep. Summer Lee
State Rep. Summer Lee

Lee made history earlier this month when she became the first Black woman to be elected to Congress from Pennsylvania. She beat Republican Mike Doyle to replace the 12th Congressional District’s retiring Democratic lawmaker, who is also named Mike Doyle.

The two-term state House member, lawyer and former labor organizer is expected to be a prominent figure in the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The congresswoman-elect is also rumored to be joining the “squad,” a group made up of progressive lawmakers of color in the House, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

“I think that what we are going to see is that our progressive movement is going to continue to endure because we are doing the work to bring new people in, to expand the electorate every single election cycle, but also to do the work and to lay that groundwork, even in districts where we’re not supposed to have, or don’t usually have progressives,” she said at a Progressive Caucus press conference. “So our work continues.”

She told reporters after the event that she will be focused on issues like environmental justice, policing and increasing wages.

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