Despite lingering questions, Luther Strange gets warm greeting in Senate

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Republican U.S. Sen. Luther Strange is getting a warm reception in Washington despite lingering questions about his appointment in his home state of Alabama, according to a profile by USA Today.

The national paper got the obvious out of the former Alabama Attorney General: he is supporting the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare and he’s an advocate for Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Strange said his former duties as AG made him particularly passionate about Gorsuch.

“I’ve got that hands-on experience with federal judges and how important it is to have judges like Neil Gorsuch, who will take a rule of law approach to the decision-making process,” he said. “I think he’s eminently qualified. My hope is that I’ll be able to vote to confirm him on the Supreme Court before we get to the Easter recess.”

The junior senator also seems to be fitting in with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

“They’ve made it very easy for me to fit in,” he said. “The welcome has been bipartisan across the board. I really appreciate that.”

But he chuckled, “Give it some time.”

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican leader, joked that the 6-foot-9-inch lawmaker was “head and shoulders above the rest of us,” and Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said he was “pleasantly impressed so far” adding that “any guy who is a former tenant of Mark Warner’s deserves great sympathy and affection.”

But beyond the new-guy pleasantries, Strange has been able to lean on fellow Alabama U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby during his transition.

“He’s been tremendous in sort of taking me under his wing and showing me the ropes,” Strange said. “I seek his advice at every turn. You’ll probably see me with him a lot. Whenever I can spend time with him I always learn something.”

Strange said Shelby and his staff have also been gracious in putting up with the dust while Strange got situated.

“We’re going to buy pizza for his office to thank them for putting up with all the mess they had out there in the hallways,’’ Strange said. “He’s been great. He’s really nice.’’

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