New Republican sworn into Iowa Senate as end of session nears

Annette Sweeney, R-Alden, takes the oath of office on the Senate floor Monday. She won the April 10 special election for former Majority Leader Bill Dix's seat, after he abruptly resigned in March in wake of the fallout from being caught on camera kissing a capitol lobbyist. (Photo: Caroline Cummings)

The Iowa Senate has 50 members again, after the winner of last week's special election was sworn into her post Monday.

Annette Sweeney, R-Alden, took her seat in the Senate chamber after taking the oath of office. Sweeney defeated Democrat Tracy Freese in the April 10 District 25 Special Election for former Majority Leader Bill Dix's seat.

Dix resigned abruptly in March after an online video surface showing Dix, who is married, kissing a capitol lobbyist.

Sweeney held back tears during the ceremony, during which her husband and two sons joined her on the Senate floor for the oath of office.

“I’m just happy this has opened up to me to be able to serve Iowans," Sweeney said. "I'm really excited."

Sweeney previously served in the Iowa House and left her post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to run in the special election.

She said she’s ready to get in sync with other Republicans in the Senate as they near the end of session.

Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature still have to iron out details of proposals to overhaul Iowa's tax code before they adjourn,.

Sweeney will have to run for the seat again come November if she becomes the Republican nominee after defeating a primary challenger in June.

Tracy Freese, who challenged Sweeney in the Special Election, is the only Democrat registered to run for the seat in the November election.

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