It turns out that if you want to get something done right, you ask a woman to do it. Voters stood in lines for hours just to get their ballots accounted for, and results showed that women of color pulled out on top. In a record-breaking election, females demonstrated that they wouldn’t just sit around and watch as Republicans stripped them of their rights. These are the women of color who made history during the midterms.
1. Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar just became the first Somali-American woman in Congress representing Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District. Additionally, she became one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress along with Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Born in Mogadishu and raised in Baydhabo, Somalia, Omar fled the country with her family during a civil war when she was just eight-years-old. This makes her the first Muslim refugee to be elected to the House of Representatives. Some of the issues she plans to focus on include healthcare coverage for everyone, a just immigration system, rights for the LGBT community, and stricter gun control.
2. Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib
Rashida Tlaib made history in 2008 when she became the first Muslim woman to ever serve in the Michigan Legislature. She continues to make strides in politics, most recently becoming the first Palestinian-American woman elected to the house. Also a Muslim, she shares the title of becoming one the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress with Omar. Some of Tlaib’s priorities while in office include equality for all including the LGBT community and immigrants, securing a minimum wage of $15 per hour, and making higher education more affordable.
3. New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
In New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been making headlines for months now, but it wasn’t until the recent midterm elections that the 29-year-old made history. Ocasio, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is one of the youngest women ever elected to Congress. She earned this title alongside Iowa’s elected representative Abby Finkenauer who is also 29-years-old. Some of the issues Ocasio plans to focus on are women’s rights, working to prevent climate change, stricter gun control, and providing housing for all.
4. Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar
As a predominantly red state, it’s hard to imagine that any of Texas’ districts have been democratic for over fifty years. However, that’s the case in their 16th District that will now be led by Veronica Escobar. Alongside Sylvia Garcia, the two have earned themselves the title of being the first Latinas to have earned themselves a spot as one of Texas’ representatives in Congress. Some of the issues Escobar will be tackling during her time in office are improving services designed for veterans, protecting senior citizens and the disabled members of the community, and supporting immigration reform.
5. Texas Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia
Along with Escobar, Sylvia Garcia has also earned the title of becoming one of the first Latinas voted to Congress in Texas. A native of Palito Blanco, which is a South Texas farming community, Garcia defeated Republican Phillip Aronoff in the race for representing District 29. She is a strong advocate for women and equality and plans to strive toward transparency and accountability within the government.
6. New York Attorney General Letitia James
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Letitia “Tish” James is a lawyer and the first woman of color to hold Citywide office in New York City. She earned herself the title of Attorney General this midterm election, adding a few more firsts to her resume. James is now the first woman as well as the first black person to serve as attorney general, as well as the first black woman to be elected to statewide office. Some of the issues she will be focusing on are equality in the workplace, reducing student loan burden, maintaining access to women’s reproductive healthcare, opioid abuse.
7. Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley
Ayanna Pressley made waves in Massachusetts when she defeated Mike Capuano who’d severed ten terms in Congress. This win made her the first black woman to represent Massachusettes in Congress, a long-awaited moment in history to say the least. Some of the issues she plans to focus on will be healthcare for all, equal rights for the LGBT community, and protecting a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body.
8. California Congresswoman Young Kim
Young Kim was born in Seoul and grew up in Guam before she came to the United States for college. Even though she’s an immigrant, she ran for Congress and won as a Republican, making her the first Korean-American congresswoman. The issues she plans to address include increased border security, immigration reform, and honoring American veterans.
9. Kansas Congresswoman Sharice Davids
Former professional mixed martial arts fighter, Sharice Davids, has made history both for Indigenous women and the LGBT community this recent election. Along with New Mexico Congresswoman-elect Deb Haaland, the two have become the first Indigenous women in Congress. On top of that, Davids is also the first openly gay person to represent Kansas. We can expect her to fight for true tax cuts for the middle class, stricter gun laws, support climate change prevention, and equal rights for the LGBT community.
10. New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland
As a member of the Laguna Pueblo people, Deb Haaland is now one of the first Native American women to become elected to Congress. She has proudly stood up against Donald Trump on numerous occasions, and will likely continue to do so as she begins to represent New Mexico in the house. Pueblo’s issues include fighting to end gun violence, pushing to allow Medicare for all, racial justice and equality for people of color and the LGBT community, and a number of essential women’s rights.
11. Illinois Congresswoman Lauren Underwood
A registered nurse from Naperville, Illinois, Lauren Underwood has become not only the first woman to be elected to represent District 14 in Congress, but also the first black woman. She plans to work to end gun violence, invest more in local education, help to encourage the use of renewable energy, immigration reform, as well as supporting women’s reproductive rights.