Deb Fischer downplays gender even as she makes Senate history

Vice President Joe Biden administers the Senate oath to Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., accompanied by her husband Bruce Fischer, during a mock swearing- in ceremony on Capitol Hill on Thursday as the 113th Congress officially began.

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer downplayed the “gender” issue Thursday, even as she made history on two fronts.

Fischer became the first woman from Nebraska to be sworn into the Senate after winning a full term in a competitive election.

She also made history nationally.

Fischer joined 19 other women in the Senate's largest class of female lawmakers.

Fischer handily defeated Democrat Bob Kerrey in November, following a thrilling, come-from-behind win in the spring Republican primary.

In an interview Thursday with The World-Herald, Fischer said her experiences in Nebraska — including living in a rural community for much of her adult life — were just as important as her gender. The former two-term state senator grew up in Lincoln and married a rancher in Valentine, Neb.

“Sometimes when the focus is placed on gender, we miss those life experiences,” she said.

“Growing up in Lincoln, that plays a part in who I am. Being a woman, plays a part. Being a mother plays a huge part in who I am,” said Fischer, the mother of three grown sons.

Two of those sons — Luke and Morgan — were on hand when Fischer was sworn into office in Washington. Also standing by her side was her husband, Bruce.

The new senator wasted little time in trying to build relationships with colleagues, chatting with some fellow senators and making lunch plans with others.

As a state lawmaker, Fischer was known for building relationships that she later tapped to build support for her legislative agenda.

“I think it's important to seek out any colleagues who want to work on the issues,” she said.

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