A record number of women have won seats in congress following the US mid-term elections. There were also several historic milestones in the midterm results: the first ever Muslim congresswoman, the first two Native American congresswomen, Massachusetts’, Connecticut’s first black congresswomen, and at 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the youngest women ever elected to congress. She will represent New York’s 14th congressional district.
Ocasio-Cortez, the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Bronx-born father earned a degree in economics and international relations from Boston University but worked as a waitress and bartender after graduating in 2011 to supplement her mother’s income. Her father, a small-business owner, had died three years earlier of cancer. She worked as an organizer for the 2016 presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders. She won her seat campaigning on a progressive platform, including Medicare for all and free college tuition.
“We will have the most diverse set of women in Congress ever,” said Kathryn DePalo, who teaches political science at Florida International University. “With these barriers broken, more women of diverse religious faiths and backgrounds will find the courage to walk in the footsteps of these path-breaking women.”
Here are the newly elected women, diversifying US politics:
- Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Iham Omar of Minnesota became the first and second Muslim women elected to Congress. Both women are Democrats.
- Deb Haaland of Arizona and Sharice Davids of Kansas became the first two Native American women elected to Congress. Both women are Democrats. Davids also made history as the first openly LGBT woman of color in Congress.
- Ayanna Pressley became Massachusetts’ first black congresswoman. A video of the Democrat’s emotional win went viralon Twitter.
- New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old progressive won in a shocking upset over Rep. Joe Crowley. Abby Finkenauer joined her as one of the youngest women ever elected to Congress.
- Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia became Texas’s first two Latina congresswomen. Both women are Democrats.
- Lou Leon Guerrero, a Democrat, became the first woman governor of Guam.
- Angie Craig, a Democrat, became the first openly lesbian mother in Congress and the first openly LGBT member of Congress from Minnesota.
- Jahana Hayes, a former schoolteacher and Democrat, became Connecticut’s first black congresswomen.
- Republican Young Kim of California became the first Korean American woman in Congress.
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