Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., was sworn in for his second term Sunday morning as the 117th Congress convened for the first time. 

The ceremony comes weeks after Peters was declared the winner in his tight race against Republican challenger John James, who conceded more than 20 days after the election. Peters’ victory also coincided with a weeks-long effort by the Republican Party to challenge election results and tout unfounded claims of voter fraud in Michigan and several other key battleground states. 

Peters is a Michigan native who holds a bachelor’s degree from Alma College and a law degree from Wayne State University. In his first term, Peters served as the ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees. He has also previously served as a U.S. Representative from Michigan. 

In an Instagram Live Sunday morning with his wife Colleen, Peters told viewers about the process of being sworn in to the U.S. Senate and about his vision for Michigan in the coming years. 

“We’re just in such a hyperpolarized time,” Peters said. “With the pandemic and the politics that have been going on, we have to get through this and I want to find ways that we all can come together.” 

In a Sunday press release, Peters said he will be focused on rebuilding the economy and the vaccination effort, among other things, in the coming years. 

“We must get this pandemic under control and do everything in our power to rebuild the economy, safely and efficiently distribute vaccines that are coming online free of charge, and support Michigan families, workers, small businesses and health care professionals,” Peters said.

In a press conference before the swearing-in ceremony, Peters emphasized he represents all Michiganders and expressed excitement about his return to the Senate. 

“I do not just represent folks who may have voted for me,” Peters said. “I have an obligation under the Constitution to represent everybody in the state and that is what I will do. It is what I have done (for) the last six years and will continue to do in the next six years.”

Peters said he is looking forward to starting his new term, working with other senators and passing legislation for his Michigan constituents, specifically supporting frontline workers and strengthening the economy. 

“We have to roll up our sleeves, we have to find common ground and we have to get things done,” Peters said. 

College Democrats at the University of Michigan and the University’s chapter of College Republicans declined to comment. 

Daily Staff Reporter Sarah Payne can be reached at paynesm@umich.edu

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