WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS4) – Three Colorado Congressmen were among a small group of people to attend the Presidential inauguration in person. Reps. Joe Neguse and Jason Crow, Democrats who represent Colorado’s 2nd and 6th Congressional Districts, reflected on the significance of the event happening in the same space where a riot had taken place just two weeks earlier.
“To be able to partake in this incredibly important constitutional process, to see the 46th President of the United States inaugurated a mere two weeks after the Capitol was breeched for the first time since the War of 1812. I think it’s a testament to just how resilient our republic is,” said Neguse, who thanked the National Guard, including more than 200 guardsman from Colorado who provided security.READ MORE: Check Out The Winning Entries In The Iconic Colorado Driver's License Contest
Crow echoed that sentiment, “To me it was a symbol of the enduring strength of our democracy. To be honest about our failings and our imperfections and we can use that to be better.”
President Joe Biden too called for America to be better saying, “Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire.”
Neguse says the change in administration is already producing a change in tone.
“I do get the sense that the temperature of our politics, there’s real opportunity to turn it down. And of course, to hear that coming from our new commander in chief, I think is a clarion call, not just of course, for every American, but I think in particular, for those of us in Washington and members of Congress,” Neguse said.
The president’s plea for unity comes amid, what he calls, cascading crises of COVID-19: the economy, climate, and racial justice. He signed executive orders extending moratoriums on evictions and federal student loan payments, revoking the Keystone pipeline permit, and rejoining the Paris Climate Accord.
“I don’t feel very unified. I think it is a good message for America, but I think his actions undermine the credibility of his sincerity,” said Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican who represents Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.
Buck insists canceling the Keystone pipeline will hurt national security and Colorado’s economy.
“We have been moving, in the last 4 years, toward energy independence. And it really has helped strengthened our economy. This move of canceling the pipeline is a really bad move for America,” Buck explained.READ MORE: 'We Heard Bam! Bam! Bam!': 11-Year-Old Boy Shot In Aurora Sunday Night
Neguse, who is a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, disagrees.
“In Colorado, we have experienced the impacts of climate change tangibly through devastating wildfires, increased flooding and climate-related weather events. Our communities are ready for bold leadership and bold action to tackle the existential threat of climate change,” Neguse said. “In President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, we once again have leaders in the White house who will trust scientists and will work to invest in clean energy jobs and climate solutions.”
Crow admits the challenges are great but says, “We have always been a nation of competing ideas, traditions and politics. Out of that competition and struggle we have always found a way to move forward. If anybody can do it President Biden can knows personalities understands how cut a deal and he knows now is not the time for ideological warfare.”
With the Senate evenly split, the President will need Vice President Kamala Harris to enact much of his agenda. She will be the tie-breaking vote. On Wednesday, she broke new ground as the first woman and first person of color to become Vice President.
Neguse is also a trailblazer and the first African American elected to Congress from Colorado. He attended the funeral of civil rights champion, Congressman John Lewis, with Harris.
“I thought as I watched the inauguration and saw her raise her right hand and take the oath of office of just how incredibly proud Mr. Lewis would have been to see the moment knowing that he paved the way. He ultimately sacrificed so much so that she could be our country’s first black Vice President. She will inspire millions upon millions of Americans including my own two year old daughter.. to know she can be anything she wants to be,” Neguse said.
President Biden’s cabinet is also the most diverse in history. Crow says the President understands the importance of his administration reflecting the country.
“Not only has he started his administration by fulfilling a very important campaign promise but substantively it’s going to make for a better government and a better administration because we will be able to take into account the diverse voices of our country,” Crow said.MORE NEWS: Without Active Spring Snow, State's Snowpack On Track To Be Below Average
President Biden will roll out more executive orders in the coming days, including action on racial equity.