Yesterday’s election will ensure that the U.S. House of Representatives looks a lot more like the country it represents.
A ‘pink wave’ is sending a record number of women to Congress, with more than 110 claiming victory in their House and Senate races—with some contests too close yet to call.
And there are plenty of historic ‘firsts’ to celebrate.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will become the youngest female ever elected to Congress, winning her New York district at age 29.
Three of the women elected yesterday have distinguished careers serving in the military. Now they’ve found a new way to serve—fighting for the people in their districts. Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot won easily in New Jersey, Chrissy Houlahan, a retired Air Force officer will now be a leader for Pennsylvania, and Elaine Luria, a former Navy SEAL with six deployments, won in Norfolk, Virginia. They will join four other female veterans currently serving in Congress.
Diversity also won the day Tuesday with a record number of women of color headed to the halls of Congress.
Deb Haaland in New Mexico and Sharice Davids in Kansas became the first Native American women ever elected to Congress.
A former National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, will become Connecticut’s first black woman in Congress. Newcomer Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts who ousted a 10-term incumbent in the primary will become the first black congresswoman from Massachusetts. She and Hayes are the first black women elected to congress from New England.
When Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia take their seats in January with the 2018 class, they will be the first Latinas ever to represent Texas in the U.S. House. Escobar is a former El Paso County judge, and Garcia is a state senator from Houston.
Michigan attorney Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota won their races handily to become the first Muslim women elected to Congress, with Omar being the first Somali-American to join the ranks.
Almost 80% of voters in a CNN exit poll said it’s very or somewhat important that more women and racial minorities be elected to public office, with two-thirds of white voters agreeing.
Last night, Donna Brazille, a strategist on CNN said a record number of 38 women of color will be serving in Congress (35 Democrats, three Republicans).
In yet another first, Young Kim of California won a close race that secured her place as the first Korean-American woman elected as U.S. representative.
Breaking the record ‘pink wave’ set in 2016, which sent 84 women to Congress, the influx of female role models in political office can inspire more young women to consider running in 2020.
(Watch a video from the Washington Post) – Featured image from WaPost video