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House swears in new GOP congressman from Alabama

Wednesday - 1/8/2014, 5:28pm  ET

Associates Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Alabama Republican Bradley Byrne was sworn into the House of Representatives on Wednesday after winning a contentious Republican primary that pitted business groups against the tea party.

Byrne, who will represent Alabama's 1st Congressional District, had the strong backing of business groups, like the Chamber of Commerce. He promised to focus on getting things done, rather than political posturing.

"I'm ready to roll up my shirt sleeves, to work with you as a problem solver, not a problem maker," he told members of Congress on the House floor.

House Speaker John Boehner swore Byrne in. He was joined on the House floor by his members of the Alabama delegation who greeted him warmly with hugs and handshakes.

Byrne is a former state senator and chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. He also ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for the Republican nomination to be governor of Alabama.

Byrne cruised to a December special election against a lightly funded Democrat to fill the seat vacated by former GOP Rep. Jo Bonner, who retired in August to work for the University of Alabama system.

But that victory came after a much more competitive -- and combative -- primary with businessman Dean Young. Byrne enjoyed the strong backing of many business groups, including the Chamber of Commerce. Young was a favorite of local tea party groups and refused to back Byrne after narrowly losing to him in the primary.

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