By Lauren Mylo
WASHINGTON — Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly’s new office is in the far reaches of the Cannon House Office Building. But his supporters, who took a bus at 5 a.m. Wednesday from Butler to see their representative’s swearing in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, didn’t seem to mind the trek.
“I’m excited, and I think he’s going to do a wonderful job,” said Judy McCrea, who joined about 30 other supporters and Kelly staffers on the bus. “I think he’s a very honest man, a very caring man, and I hope a lot of people coming into office today will have the same values and love of their country as Mike does,” said the Butler County resident.
Kelly spent most of the bright, sunny day surrounded by his supporters and family members, all of whom carried an aura of excitement and curiosity as they navigated the Capitol to tour his office and other parts of the Hill.
Andrew Patterson, a junior at Grove City College where he chairs the College Republicans, took the bus along with two other Grove City students, several families and individuals.
The 20-year-old from Monroeville said he wanted to show his support for Kelly’s advocacy of conservative principles. He also wanted to witness an historic moment.
“To see our representatives, the people we elected, in a peaceful changing of power, especially with the changing from the Democrats to Republicans, is a special thing to see and shows how great our country really is,” he said, noting it was his first time to the Capitol for a swearing in.
“You can see young people showing up and turning to the conservative tide in that you can see generational theft starting and it’s on our credit card,” he added. “We’re taking action by voting people pledging to control spending into office.”
Kelly’s office had yet to be organized Wednesday as congressional publications found a place next to a row of baby toys, but the priority at that moment was family and friends.
“It’s very exciting, especially for my children and grandchildren,” Kelly said. “This is something they’ll remember forever. The best part is this is something they’ll share with their grandchildren — the day their grandfather was sworn into Congress.”
He said he appreciated the “folks who took time out of their life” to take the long bus ride to Washington to show their support.
He also said he wanted the day to signify something larger.
“I would hope for all of us this starts a new trend in government, where we’re being very smart about how we spend and we’re becoming much more responsible for our children and grandchildren,” he said. “It’s very imperative we get this under control.”
Mylo is a reporter with The (Sharon) Herald, which, like The Meadville Tribune, is owned by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.