Dan Donovan sworn into House of Representatives

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Dan Donovan sworn into House of Representatives

WASHINGTON -- The New York prosecutor involved in the Eric Garner chokehold case was sworn in Tuesday as the House's newest member, replacing a lawmaker who quit Congress after pleading guilty to tax fraud.

Republican Dan Donovan easily won a special election last week to the vacant seat, which represents Staten Island and a small slice of Brooklyn. He's the only Republican from heavily Democratic New York City in Congress, representing a district that has many working-class white voters and is one of the city's more conservative areas.

Donovan thanked family members and other supporters who watched from the visitors' galleries as he took the oath of office, saying, "I promise to make all of them proud of my representation of them down here as a member of the greatest legislative body in the world."

Donovan, 58, resigned Tuesday as Staten Island district attorney, a post he held for more than a decade. He entered the national spotlight last year after a grand jury he impaneled decided against indicting the white police officer who placed Garner, an unarmed black man, in a fatal chokehold.

That case was among several that have raised questions about police treatment of minorities in several cities.

Donovan takes a House seat vacant since January, when GOP Rep. Michael Grimm resigned following his guilty plea. Grimm, who faces sentencing in June, had been re-elected to a third House term last November despite being under indictment.

By taking office, Donovan gives Republicans a 245-188 House majority. There are two vacancies in GOP-leaning seats.

Among those watching Donovan take his oath was former GOP Rep. Susan Molinari, who represented the district from 1990 to 1997 and is Google's chief Washington lobbyist.