The 113th Congress has formally begun its work in Washington. New members were sworn in during ceremonies on Thursday. But the beginning of the new Congress also means an end of Congressional service for those members who lost re-election races in 2012. YNN's Bill Carey says a Syracuse Republican is among those leaving the capital.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It was two years ago and a freshman Republican was sworn in after surprising the pundits and ousting a Democrat incumbent.
Less than two years later, Ann Marie Buerkle was conceding she had lost in a rematch with that same Democrat, Dan Maffei. Despite a brief tenure, she says, she and other members of the class of 2010 have made a difference.
“We changed the debate to the fact that this nation has a spending problem. It's really amoral... immoral to run a country with a deficit of $1.2 trillion, on average. To have a national debt of $16 trillion. So that's something we've talked about and we've raised awareness about that problem,” said former Congresswoman Buerkle.
Opponents had labeled Buerkle an extremist. That's a label that she rejected. She said she simply reflected the views of constituents back home.
When a tea party contingent in the House rebelled against compromise, Buerkle was normally in the mix. She says it was necessary in a capital that needed some shaking up.
“That unwillingness to think outside the box. Just to keep the status quo. To do the same things we do year after year. That doesn't work. Obviously, it doesn't work. Look at the dysfunction down here. Look at the problems our nation faces. It's time that people come down here and they're less worried about their re-election and they're more worried about what's good for this country and what's right for this country,” said Buerkle.
The former Congresswoman has long since conceded her own re-election race, but she still refuses to say she lost to Dan Maffei, believing instead it was demographics of a presidential election year that cost her her job. Demographics that will change in 2014, leaving open the possibility of yet another rematch.
“Clearly, I lost to President Obama and the turnout he was able to get in this presidential year. But, as I go forward it certainly is an option and I certainly will consider it. It's one of the options on the table,” said Buerkle.
Ann Marie Buerkle says her years of public service are not over, yet.
Ann Marie Buerkle and other Republicans fought hard, earlier this week, against a compromise deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Many complained that Speaker John Boehner failed to use his leverage to force more spending cuts. Buerkle, who says she's maintained good relations with the speaker, stopped short of saying he should be replaced. She said simply that, sometimes, change is a good thing.