Vice President Dick Cheney Tuesday swore in Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi to replace retired Senator Trent Lott.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Wicker, also a Republican, to succeed Lott on Dec. 31.
Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran escorted Wicker to the well of the Senate as Cheney opened session with a two-minute swearing-in ceremony.
"I am mindful of the tremendous responsibility entrusted to me as U.S. Senator, and I am committed to serving the people of Mississippi and the nation to the best of my ability," Wicker said.
Wicker said he has already traveled across the state in the two weeks since his appointment. Among his legislative priorities will be continuing to help south Mississippi recover from Hurricane Katrina and keeping a focus on economic development and job creation.
Wicker will serve until a state-mandated special election is held. Barbour set the special election for Nov. 4, but Democrats want the election to be held within 100 days of Lott's resignation. The Mississippi Supreme Court will decide the issue.
In any case, Wicker is a candidate in that race, along with Democrats, former governor Ronnie Musgrove and former congressman, Ronnie Shows. The winner will serve out the remainder of Lott's term, which runs through 2012.
Wicker was elected to the U.S. House in 1994. He was re-elected six times from the 1st District in north Mississippi.