Thursday, January 6th, 2011 11:07:43

A Change in Power Now, Optimistic Conservative Message Still Needed

My first memory of a congressional swearing in dates back to Jan. 3, 1979, when members of the 96th Congress took the oath. My father, Newt Gingrich, was among them. After losses in 1974 and 1976, he had finally won the seat for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, to become the sole Republican congressman or senator from the Peach State.

After the election, our family moved from Georgia to Northern Virginia. My mother drove with my sister in the 1978 light blue Chevrolet Impala, while my father drove with me in the 1969 red Volkswagen Beetle. When we reached our new neighborhood, we slid on the snow and ice into a stop sign. Luckily, we were moving slowly, so there was no damage.

I was young enough to accompany my father on the floor of the House that first day while he and the 434 other representatives were sworn in. It was exciting, my father — full of energy and ideas — beginning a life of public service. While he was a member of the minority party (there were 277 Democratic House members and 158 Republican House members when the 96th Congress began), he was full of optimism for our country.