ABCNews4 in DC: Mark Sanford takes oath in return to Congress

File Photo (WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Mark Sanford is back in the District of Columbia. He was sworn into Congress Wednesday afternoon.

At the unofficial gathering and on the floor of the U.S. House, Sanford was joined by two of his sons, his mother, and his fiancee, Belen Chapur. With his hand on the Bible his mother held, Sanford promised to uphold the U.S. Constitution as a member of Congress.

It's been nearly 13 years since Sanford walked the halls of the Capitol as a member of the House. He called the feeling surreal.

"To walk back in to the halls of Congress, the halls of the most powerful country on earth, is an incredible blessing and an incredible responsibility," he said.

He says he's grateful for his family.{} Sanford says Sen. Lindsey Graham was among the first in Washington to call and congratulate him on his successful election bid last week. He was always welcomed back into the building by a Democrat.

"He came by and brought me a present, said 'I'm around the corner. Looking forward to getting to know you,'" Sanford said.

In his floor speech, Sanford told his new colleagues he's been humbled by the events of 2009. He says he hopes they see he's human and know his past is not his present."They focus on, 'OK, you're here now, a member. I need to get to 218 on a vote. Are you with me or against me?' That's what they're going to be focused on," Sanford said. He says he looks forward to working with both Democrats and Republicans and will stay true to his campaign promises.

First on his agenda? "Getting our fiscal house in order," he told the members.

The last time Sanford held the office, he was famous for sleeping on the couches in his office to save money. He said he doesn't know if that's in store in this term, but added that his back isn't what it used to be.

Last week, Sanford won the 1st District seat he held for three terms in the 1990s.

Sanford was once mentioned as a potential GOP presidential candidate. But his political career was derailed four years ago when, as governor, he disappeared for five days only to return to admit he was having an extramarital affair to a woman to whom he is now engaged.

Sanford rebounded from the scandal to defeat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. The seat became vacant when U.S. Rep. Tim Scott was appointed to the U.S. Senate.