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Erik Paulsen, one of few new Republicans, joins House

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Erik Paulsen
Erik Paulsen gives his acceptance speech for 3rd district congressional seat at the Minnesota Republican Party headquarters in the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.
MPR Photo/Chris Kelleher

When the 111th Congress convenes in Washington today, Minnesota will have a new face in the U.S. House of Representatives: Erik Paulsen. 

The Republican beat DFL opponent Ashwin Madia by an almost 8-percent margin to win Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District. Paulsen replaces the retiring Jim Ramstad.

As the new Congress settles in, Paulsen says he's eager to work with Democrats in tackling the nation's economic problems.  

"I'm excited to work with the new president," Paulsen said. "I also want to make sure, as the role of the minority, that I'm an honest broker in making sure we're doing the right stimulus. Just not only government spending but we're focusing on the long-term effects of that and making sure that we're providing the right tax incentives to get our economy going, as well."

Paulsen represents Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District, in the western metro area. 

He succeeds fellow Republican Jim Ramstad, who retired after nine terms. Paulsen says he's ready to carry on Ramstad's tradition of working across party lines.

"Those are big shoes to fill, in terms of following that tradition," he said. "But, I know in my heart in working for my constituents I will be able to follow in the same mold of working hard on behalf of everybody, whether they voted for me or not. And I think that's why Jim Ramstad  was so successful."