By: Jessica Bruening
It’s been over a month since the 2018 midterm elections. This year’s election results are particularly exciting because of the record number of women and people of color elected into office. A total of 117 women were elected on November 6th, including 42 women of color and three members of the LGBTQ community. Here is some information on just a few of these women and their plans for while they’re in office.
Ayanna Pressley is about to become the first black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress. In the Democratic primaries, she defeated 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano. Pressley plans to pursue activist leadership, and in her victory speech she stated, “When it comes to women of color candidates, folks don’t just talk about a glass ceiling; what they describe is a concrete one. But you know what breaks through concrete? Seismic shifts” (New York Times).
Sharice Davids of Kansas and Debra Haaland of New Mexico are the first Native American women elected to Congress. Davids worked as a White House fellow during the Obama administration and has also worked on various Native American reservations, promoting economic and community development. Congresswoman Debra Haaland is passionate about finding cleaner energy sources, providing Medicare for all Americans, and making education more affordable. She is a women’s rights activist and works to protect immigrant communities.
Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota will be the first Muslim-American women elected to Congress. Tlaib, who will also be the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress, has worked as a lawyer and a State Representative in Lansing. She has raised millions of dollars in funding for bilingual education and before- and after- school programs in Michigan. Omar is a former refugee who became the first Somali-American legislator in the United States back in 2016, and will now serve as America’s first Somali-American congresswoman.
These women are only a few examples of our many newly elected government officials who are working to break down race and gender barriers in politics, but there are many more like them. It is important that we have a diverse range of voices and perspectives among those who are leading our country. We are a nation made up of so many different faces, cultures, religions, traditions and stories, and it is crucial that our government begins to reflect that fact.