Newly-elected Congressman Jake Auchincloss took the oath of office on Sunday and said he plans to work hard on the COVID-19 response and on solving the nation's infrastructure problems.

Auchincloss said he has been assigned to the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. In a statement mailed to constituents, he touted principles of "access, equity, and sustainability," meaning better funding for transit as part of an overall strategy for safe roadways and reduced emissions. Auchincloss said a massive existing maintenance backlog, particularly when it comes to bridges, should be addressed before building more roads. He spoke up for expanding the national passenger rail system and voiced support for South Coast Rail.

In a theme emphasized during his campaign, Auchincloss said he would work to improve airports and seaports, including investments in harbor facilities at the Port of New Bedford. While New Bedford sits just outside of the Fourth District's geographical bounds, Auchincloss has described the city's working waterfront as a top economic engine for the South Coast region.

Auchincloss said he's pushing for a stronger and more coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a well-organized rollout of vaccines and a big increase in testing capacity to allow for safe in-person learning at public schools.

The 32-year-old Newton Democrat will receive a second committee assignment later this month.

The New congressman plans a virtual open house today at 4 p.m., and all are invited. Those who wish to attend should register for the event on Zoom.

Auchincloss has announced his top staff members. Tim Hysom will serve as chief of staff. Dana Hanson, who formerly worked for the mayor of Newton, will be district director, and Jessica Mulligan will be the congressman's legislative director. Matt Corridoni, who worked for the Pete Buttigieg for President campaign, will serve as communications director.

Auchincloss was elected in November to represent Massachusetts' Fourth Congressional District. He prevailed over a crowded Democratic primary field before beating Republican Julie Hall in the general election. The Marine veteran now holds the seat formerly held by Joseph Kennedy III. Kennedy relinquished his seat when he launched his unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S. Senator Ed Markey.

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