Newly appointed U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler dismissed critics who accused her of being too liberal as she accepted Gov. Brian Kemp’s appointment to fill the seat of Sen. Johnny Isakson.
Loeffler said during a news conference Wednesday that her pro-Second Amendment, pro-military, pro-Trump and pro-wall views were not a political slogan.
“I haven’t spent my life trying to get to Washington,” she said.
Loeffler said she will run in 2020 to serve the remaining two years of Isakson’s current term. Her appointment was chided by many Republicans nationwide, who said she was not conservative enough. U.S. Rep. Doug Collins was mentioned as President Donald Trump’s preferred choice for the seat. Collins has not said if he will run for the seat next year.
Loeffler also addressed critics who said she was not pro-life and accused her of donating to Planned Parenthood, telling reporters she had never given a dime to anything related to the organization.
“I am strongly pro-life and angered by these false claims that have no basis,” she said.
State lawmakers in Georgia passed legislation that prohibited abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill was signed by Kemp but is facing a court challenge.
“I can assure you that I would not be sending anyone to Washington, D.C. that doesn’t believe the same thing that we stood up and believed for,” Kemp said.
Loeffler was raised on a farm in southern Illinois. She is the chief executive officer of crypto currency platform Bakkt and a minority stake holder in the Atlanta Dream, a team in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
She also addressed those who called her “soft-spoken.”
“I may not be the loudest person in the room but you don’t have to be shrill to be tough,” she said. “Not every strong American woman is a liberal.”
Kemp called Loeffler’s appointment a “historic day in the Peach state.” Loeffler is only the second woman to serve as a U.S. senator from Georgia. Rebecca Latimer Felton served for one day in 1922.
Isakson congratulated Loeffler on her appointment.
“Kelly’s business experience and acumen will be an asset to Georgia and the Senate,” Isakson said in a statement. “The same tireless work ethic that has helped her succeed in business will also help her succeed in serving Georgians and our nation.”
Kemp praised the work of Isakson saying, “As Georgia Republicans we owe a debt of gratitude to Johnny Isakson for charting the course.”
Isakson, who entered the Senate chambers using a walker, delivered his farewell address on Tuesday. Loeffler will begin her appointment on Jan. 1.
Kemp said he encouraged the Republican Party to get behind Loeffler.
“Now is a great opportunity to seek the truth and facts and learn about the real Kelly Loeffler,” Kemp said.