WASHINGTON — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi swore in Rep. Julia Letlow on Wednesday afternoon — the first Republican woman to represent Louisiana in Congress.
Letlow, 40, takes the place of her husband, Luke, to represent the 5th Congressional District of Louisiana after he died of COVID-19 last year days after he won a special election to replace retiring Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham.
Letlow, a university administrator, won her special election in March.
Pelosi said she was excited to swear in another member of the 117th Congress, “especially another mom.”
Letlow’s two children, Jeremiah, 3, and Jacqueline, 1, attended the ceremony. Letlow’s parents as well as her late husband’s parents were also in attendance.
Her arrival in Congress shrinks the thin majority Democrats have now to 218-212, with five House seats vacant and special elections set for later this year.
Letlow previously worked as the director of education and patient safety for Tulane University and in 2018 was named the director of external affairs and strategic communication for the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
She ran on her platform as a pro-gun, anti-abortion candidate who will work to increase broadband access to rural farmers. Since her husband’s death, she has worked to combat vaccine hesitancy and has encouraged her constituents to take the vaccine.