*New Jersey’s Cory Booker was sworn into the Senate on Thursday, the latest chapter in the former Newark mayor’s meteoric rise to stardom.
Booker, a Democrat, is the first black senator from New Jersey and the first black senator to be elected since Barack Obama won his Illinois seat in 2004.
“We’re going to find Cory Booker is going to be a great asset to this nation and the Senate,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “We’re very fortunate to have this good man in the Senate. He’ll serve his state and our nation with distinction.”
Immediately following his swearing-in, Booker cast his first vote as a senator, a procedural matter allowing for a vote on Mel Watt, Obama’s nominee to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Booker also was to join Vice President Biden for a ceremonial swearing-in and meet with Obama in the White House Oval Office.
Booker and his mother, Carolyn, were surrounded by news media earlier in the day when they posed for a photo with Reid.
In addition to his mother, Booker, 44, was joined at the U.S. Capitol by his brother, Cary, and a host of other family members. His father died earlier this month after a long bout with Parkinson’s disease.
Booker resigned as mayor of Newark at midnight Wednesday after serving seven years.
His Senate committee assignments were not yet known.
Booker replaces Republican Sen. Jeff Chiesa, who was appointed to the seat following the June 3 death of longtime Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Booker defeated Republican Steve Lonegan in an Oct. 16 special election.
Booker will serve out the remainder of Lautenberg’s term, which ends in 2014. He plans to run for re-election.