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Swearing-In Ceremony Begins Busy Day For Dole

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Newly-elected U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole was sworn into office Tuesday, part of a Republican majority that puts the party in control of both chambers of Congress.

Dole, one of 11 new senators, had a busy day.

After the noon swearing-in ceremony, the Senate approved afive-month, $7 billion extension of emergency federal unemploymentbenefits by unanimous consent motion.

Dole later attended an ArmedServices Committee meeting, held interviews with the media and wasscheduled to attend two parties for supporters and staffers.

"We've had the office full of North Carolina folks," she said. "A lot ofpeople have come up for the celebration."

Dole begins her Senate term as a familiar Washington insider,having served as a cabinet secretary in both President Reagan andthe elder President Bush's administration.

Her husband, Bob,represented Kansas in the Senate for two decades.

Before her election, she already knew many of her futurecolleagues.

"A lot of them I have worked with in the past," she said. "I think that iscertainly a big help."

But just like the other 10 freshmen, Dole said she will have toget used to the formal Senate rules and procedures, learning theropes of the legislative process.

"It is going to be a very interesting education," she said.

Dole's election helped Republicans regain control of the Senate,lost after Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont left the GOP to become anindependent in 2001.

Republicans have a 51-48-1 majority and also enjoy a 24-seat margin in the House.

Dole said the majority will allow Republicans to move legislation which they see as critical, including an economic stimulus package.

"I think there is a real opportunity to move a lot ofimportant legislation, in sync with the House," she said.

Dole will serve on the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture andBanking committees, addressing issues that she said are critical tothe state.

"Serving on the Armed Services Committee is so very importantto North Carolina," she said. "There is the possibility that wewill move into the Iraq situation. Obviously, the president isdoing every thing he can to avoid that."

Dole became North Carolina's 52nd U.S. senator and its firstfemale senator, replacing Republican Jesse Helms following a30-year career in the chamber.

Helms decided in 2001 that he wouldstep down after completing his sixth term in office.

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