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Five New Congresswomen Making History

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Five New Congresswomen Making History

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It’s no secret that the U.S. Congress is gradually becoming more diverse with each new election. The 116th Congress is no exception to this, as more women, people of color, Muslims, and people in LGBTQ community have been inducted in 2019 than in any other year in history. Among the 111 newly sworn-in members of Congress were five women whose age, race, religion, and/or sexuality made their induction historic.  

1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected to represent the Bronx in the House of Representatives following her successful campaign against Republican nominee and 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley. At the age of 29, she has become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She has already become a face of the Democratic party because of her proposal of Improved and Expanded Medicare for All, her promotion of tuition-free public colleges, and her support of gun control, women’s and LGBTQ rights, and the abolition of ICE. Ocasio-Cortez’s youth has sparked criticism from those who deem her less qualified than fellow reps, but her ability to appeal to young Democratic voters has already provided her with great success which is only expected to increase.

2. Avanna Pressley
The 2018 midterm elections shed light on the challenges that advocates of racial and gender equality are facing in today’s political climate. Democrat Ayanna Pressley was appointed to represent Dorchester, MA in the House, and her victory against incumbent Congressman Mike Capuano makes her the first Black woman to serve as a Massachusetts state representative. Pressley had been an active member of the Boston City Council for eight years prior to her election to Congress, and during her time she introduced sex-ed programs in Boston’s public schools, advocated for trauma survivors and the families of homicide victims, and promoted reforms to school disciplinary policies that target Black and Latina girls.

3. Sharice Davids
Following two successful 2018 campaigns, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first Native American women to serve as representatives in the nation’s history. Sharice Davids, however, also became the first openly gay representative from the state of Kansas to serve as rep. Both women’s victories are monumental for Native Americans in the U.S., as 70 years ago Native Americans did not have the right to vote. One of Davids’ concerns going into her new position is the high rates of sexual assault and violence against Native American women, as well as the abolition of ICE and women’s and LGBTQ rights.

4. Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected as a representative in the 2018 elections. Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the United States in 1997. Her focus areas include guaranteed access to public education, healthcare for all, creating a just immigration system, and rebuilding the criminal justice system to dismantle systemic racism. Omar’s induction into the House was said to be a defining moment in ending the stereotype that Muslim women are inactive in politics.

5. Kyrsten Sinema
Kyrsten Sinema is one of ten newly appointed senators entering Congress in 2019, and she is the first openly bisexual senator to ever serve. Sinema was inducted into Congress by Vice President and President of the Senate, Mike Pence, who has notoriously supported the inhumane practice of conversion therapy after statements released on his 2000 congressional campaign website. Sinema made it clear that she and Pence are on opposite sides of the argument when she chose to be inducted holding a law book rather than a Bible. Sinema’s victory over Martha McSally also makes her Arizona’s first female senator.

 

 

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