Claire McCaskill has taken the oath of office and has been sworn-in as Missouri’s newest United States Senator. Following the swearing-in ceremony, McCaskill took part in a conference call with Missouri reporters, saying it is an honor to be able to serve in the U.S. Senate, adding she is ready and anxious to get to work. That work begins on Friday with a caucus retreat in which she and fellow Democrats will discuss the various pieces of legislation to be worked on in the coming weeks. McCaskill says ten issues will be focused on at first: ethics reform, raising the minimum wage, reforming the Medicare prescription drug program, enacting the recommendations of the 911 Commission, considering proposals to expand funding for stem cell research, energy reform with an emphasis on alternative fuels, helping students to pay the high cost of college tuition, legislation to rebuild America’s military, and so-called pay-as-you-go legislation to rein in what she calls irresponsible and excessive spending. McCaskill is optimistic that ethics reform and legislation to raise the minimum wage will be approved by both the House and Senate in the first few months and sent to President Bush for his signature. As for McCaskill’s plans for learning her new surroundings in the early going, she says, “I really think it’s important that I keep my head down and listen and learn and try to forge some relationships and work with some of my colleagues across the aisle on the Republican side and then I think I’d be in a position to probably move forward on some of my own legislation a little bit further down the line.”