A family affair: Brendan Boyle was sworn in to the 114th class of the United States Congress on Jan. 6. Boyle, of Somerton, was joined by (left to right) his brother, state Rep. Kevin Boyle; House Speaker John Boehner; his wife, Jenny; daughter, Abby; and father, Frank.
When Brendan Boyle won the Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District last May, he was pretty much headed to Washington, given his party’s voter-registration advantage.
Still, he cherished last week’s official swearing-in ceremony and the hoopla surrounding it.
“It was an incredibly special day,” he said.
On a personal level, Boyle was humbled to be part of a process that started with the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” he said.
Boyle, 37, of Somerton, started his political career with losses in 2004 and ’06 to Republican state Rep. George Kenney.
In 2008, Kenney declined to seek another term, and Boyle won the seat.
In early 2013, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz announced she wouldn’t seek another term, and instead would run for governor.
Boyle entered the congressional race while also running unopposed for his state House seat.
The 13th Congressional District is about evenly split between Philadelphia and Montgomery County. Boyle was the only Philadelphian in the race, with three others hailing from Montgomery County.
Bill and Hillary Clinton, the top Democratic leaders in Montgomery County and some Philadelphia ward leaders lined up behind former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, but Boyle piled up huge numbers in the city and went on to easily win the primary. He handily won the general election.
On Jan. 6, Boyle took the oath of office, becoming one of 435 members of the House of Representatives. He is the first Northeast resident to serve in Congress since Rep. Bob Borski retired in 2002.
Boyle was assigned to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He and other members attended a Monday night session at the Capitol with Gerard Araud, France’s ambassador to the United States. They expressed condolences to him after a series of terrorist attacks in that nation resulted in 17 deaths.
Boyle and new members also attended orientation sessions last weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia, learning about policy and procedure. FBI Director James Comey addressed representatives. So did U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“It was a very impressive presentation,” Boyle said of Dempsey’s discussion and question-and-answer period.
Boyle voted on a couple of issues on Jan. 8 and 9. He voted against a bill calling for the long-delayed construction of the 1,700-mile Keystone XL Pipeline. Supporters say the pipeline will create jobs and lead to energy independence, and point to a Department of State study showing little environmental impact.
President Barack Obama is threatening a veto of the bill, which has the backing of business and labor groups. Even 28 House Democrats voted for it last Friday.
“I’m not against all pipelines,” Boyle said, adding that he doesn’t think the benefits outweigh the environmental impact.
This week, there will also be a vote on whether to defund the executive action taken by Obama after last November’s election to give legal status to as many as 4.5 million illegal immigrants.
Boyle, who is calling for a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform law, expects to vote against the defunding bill.
“The president acted within his discretion,” he said.
Locally, Boyle’s state district office at 14230 Bustleton Ave. will remain open under House supervision until a replacement is elected on March 24.
Boyle’s Philadelphia congressional district office is located at 2375 Woodward St., Suite 105. His suburban office is in Glenside. He expects to open two other offices, one in the city and the other in Montgomery County.
Boyle will be there next Tuesday when Obama delivers his State of the Union address, and he’s looking forward to weighing in on foreign and domestic issues and making sure his district offices provide strong constituent services.
The new congressman is still savoring the moment.
“It’s a huge honor,” he said. ••