Rep. Josh Gottheimer to go to inauguration, cites 'respect for office'

Rep. Josh Gottheimer speaks with students at Ramapo College in Mahwah.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer speaks with students at Ramapo College in Mahwah. (1/19/17)

MAWAH - Recently elected New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer is diverging from some of his Democratic colleagues and planning to attend Friday's presidential inauguration.

It's a not-so-surprising move from someone who's already raised eyebrows by being one of just four Democrats to vote for a Republican-backed bill on regulation rollbacks.

The former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton defeated seven-term Republican Scott Garrett in an expensive and bitter campaign. Rep. Gottheimer vowed he would seek common ground with his GOP counterparts.

Thursday at Ramapo College, Rep. Gottheimer said he'd attend the inauguration out of respect for the Constitution and the office of the president.

The Democrat ran on a campaign to reach across the aisle to work on infrastructure and tax remedies and says he's part of the bipartisan Problem Solver's Caucus.

"I'm not talking about compromising your values, of course not,” Rep. Gottheimer told students. “I mean accepting most of what you want so you can actually move forward." 

Several dozen House Democrats have announced they won't attend the inauguration. Included in that group are New Jersey Democrats Rep. Donald Payne Jr. and Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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