Editor’s note: This post was first published on the ELCA Advocacy blog.
With the final election results in Georgia resolved, the 117th Congress has begun. Members were sworn into office on Jan. 3, 2021. Check out some of the Lutheran legislators who will serve our country in this new Congress.
ELCA-affiliated members Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., won their bids for reelection in November. They will rejoin their other Lutheran incumbent colleagues in the Senate, including ELCA members Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., as well as Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) member Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. Also in the Senate, Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) member Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., joined the chamber for the first time, whereas LCMS member Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., lost his bid for reelection. Sen. Lummis rejoins Congress after having retired from the House of Representatives in 2016.
Four Lutheran members of the U.S. House of Representatives will be exiting at the start of the 117th Congress. Lutheran members Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., announced their retirements last year and did not seek reelection. ELCA-affiliated congressman Heck won his bid for lieutenant governor of Washington state. Other members―Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M.―lost their bids for reelection in 2020. We wish them all the best in their next endeavors and appreciate their dedication to public service.
ELCA members returning to the House include Rep. John Carter, R-Texas; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.; Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif.; Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine; Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa.; and U.S. Delegate Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands. Other self-described Lutherans who will be returning are Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D.; Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich.; Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn.; Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan.; Rep. Tracey Mann, R-Kan.; Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J.; and Rep. David Trone, D-Md.
Reelected WELS member Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., and LCMS members Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind.; Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis.; and Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., also will rejoin the House.
Get a jump start on building relationships with your lawmakers. Prepared in 2019, “Make Sure Your Member of Congress Knows YOU!” shares ideas from the Washington Interfaith Staff Community.
Find a full list of lawmakers and their religious affiliations at Pew Research Center.