Introducing your New Representatives
In January 2019, the most diverse Congress in history was sworn in under one of the most controversial administrations in U.S. history. In this election, a record number of women hold congressional office, along with officials from a spectrum of different races, religions, ethnicities, and orientations. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York’s 14th district is the youngest woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, besides being of Puerto Rican heritage. She is one of the 102 women who were sworn into the 116th Congress, becoming well-known among both parties. Her bold “Green New Deal” has sparked outrage among Republicans and incited cheers for the Democrats, but no partisan line can deny the power Ms. Ocasio-Cortez brings to the table.
Her friend and coworker Ilhan Omar of Minnesota’s 5th district makes history as the first Somali-American elected to Congress, and the first refugee as well. Ms. Omar and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan’s 13th district are also the first Muslim representatives the legislative branch has seen. As if there couldn’t be more milestones reached, Native American women Deb Haaland of New Mexico’s 1st district and Sharice Davids of Kansas’ 3rd district are the first indigenous women to be sworn in. Ms. Davids is also impressive as she is a homosexual woman of the Democratic party elected in a mostly Republican state. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona’s 9th district makes history as the first openly bisexual female senator and Arizona’s first female senator. And to top it all off, Nancy Pelosi has returned as Speaker of the House as the only woman to have occupied the position. It would take hours to list every “first” to have occurred in this past midterm election, but the overall point of this article is to highlight America’s progress towards a more diverse and representative government. The floor is beginning to look like the rest of America with officials from all walks of life. A shocking election has shaken up the United States and demonstrated the country’s desire to be represented by people who share their values and ideals. Congress is no longer an exclusive, select part of the government, but a small-scale of what America really looks like. America is not the same race, ethnicity, or religion and neither is the new Congress.