HARPER HOSTS CEREMONIAL SWEARING-IN ADMINISTERED BY LONGTIME FRIEND, JUDGE CHARLES PICKERING
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, Congressman Gregg Harper (R-Pearl) hosted a ceremonial swearing-in at the historic Madison Building of the Library of Congress with over 70 friends and family who traveled from Mississippi to share in this important occasion as Harper transitions into his new position.
“I’m overwhelmed by the large number of people who came to be with me in Washington for my first few days in Congress. This is a special time for my family and me and I am especially thankful to all of those who were here to support Sidney, Livingston and Maggie,” said Congressman Harper.
The Honorable Charles W. Pickering stood in his judge’s robes at the base of the towering statue of James Madison with Harper’s family as he administered the Congressional Oath of Office. As the father of outgoing Congressman Chip Pickering and longtime friend of Congressman Harper’s, this ceremony had special significance for both Harper and Judge Pickering.
The ceremony represented the culmination of a 30 year story that began when, as a college student, Congressman Harper volunteered on Judge Pickering’s 1978 Republican senatorial campaign. Because of his efforts as Pickering’s phone bank chairman, after the campaign Harper received a thank you letter with a hand inscribed message which read, “If I can ever help you, please let me know.”
Last November, some 30 years later, newly elected Congressman-elect Harper entered the judge’s office and presented the original letter and asked him if he really meant what he had written. The end result was that Judge Pickering gladly accepted Harper’s request to swear-in his former volunteer, just as he had done for his son, Chip, 12 years earlier.
After the event, former Congressman Pickering said, “Today, the Third District celebrates Gregg beginning his service in Congress. Twelve years ago, my father administered the same oath on a day that I will never forget. Just as Congressman Sonny Montgomery stood with me, I am honored to be here with Gregg as he begins his legacy of service.”
After he was sworn by Judge Pickering, Congressman Harper commented to those in attendance about John Witherspoon (a Presbyterian Pastor and one of his American hero’s) and the impact he had on his decision to select the Madison Library of Congress for the event.
“John Witherspoon was the president of the Princeton University (formerly the College of New Jersey) from 1768 – 1794 and graduated 478 students. Out of those graduates, 114 became ministers, 3 became U.S. Supreme Court justices, 13 governors, 20 U.S. Senators, 33 U.S. Congressmen, one Vice President and one President (James Madison) who we know today as the “father of our constitution” and whose statue I stand before as I take this oath.”
Congressman Harper took the official oath of office Tuesday in the House of Representatives, after which the House immediately began its work on a number of bills and resolution on the floor.