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Kwanza Hall sworn in as U.S. congressman

The former Atlanta City Councilman will hold the 5th District seat long held by John Lewis for about a month, until the current session ends.

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, Former Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall officially adds another title to his name -- U.S. Representative. 

Hall was sworn in on Capitol Hill on Thursday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Speaking to 11Alive's Joe Henke moments before his swearing-in ceremony, Hall said there is a lot he hopes to accomplish in the short time he is there. He will hold the seat for about a month -- until the conclusion of the current congressional session 

“We need the stimulus, we need justice reform. We need a continuing resolution, we need to protect our unemployment benefits. We need to ensure we have our student loans protected and lastly but most importantly we don’t need to see people being evicted," he said. "There are some relief measures that are on the table through the previous package, but we need to do more. So I’m doing everything I can to get in here to take the vote."

Hall flew to Washington late Wednesday night and plans to hit the ground running. He said the staff from the congressional office in Washington has been exceptionally helpful in the short time available to get him up to speed.

"It was very, very last minute, as I mentioned, but I’m thankful everyone has been a part of this process. We had to fly up late last night. I wasn’t really sure how everything was going to work out, but the team here has been outstanding," Hall said. "The staff in Congressman (John) Lewis’ office have been in the last day pushing and supporting, just making sure I could have connectivity as necessary."

Credit: AP
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of Calif., holds a ceremonial swearing-in of Rep. Kwanza Hall, D-Ga., on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. Hall will serve the remaining term of the late Rep. John Lewis. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Hall defeated former Morehouse College President Robert Franklin in the special runoff election on Tuesday for Georgia's 5th Congressional District seat long held by the late John Lewis

Lewis, the legendary civil rights leader also referred to as the "Conscience of the Congress," passed away last July from complications related to pancreatic cancer.

Hall was proud of representing the seat that belonged to Lewis for so many years.

"District 5 had one of the greatest icons in American history, one of the greatest icons in the Civil Rights Movement and also one of our strongest and staunchest voices for freedom, for justice, for equality in the late Congressman John Lewis," he said.

He went on to say that he is thankful for everyone who has helped out in the entire transition process.

"Thankful to the (Georgia) Secretary of State’s office. His team did an outstanding job. There were a lot of people that worked to connect the dots and get his team moving things along. They were really, really great to work with. Equally, the Clerk to the Congress, Speaker Pelosi’s office," he said. "We have been without representation in the district since July 17 (when Rep. Lewis passed away), and the voters had to go through not only a regular election but also a special election. So, this is an extraordinary situation that required support from a lot of people."

The 5th Congressional District covers portions of Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties.

At the conclusion of the 116th Congress concludes on January 3, 2021, the 117th Congress will begin and Nikema Williams will become the Representative of the 5th District, after her victory in the November general election.