Endearingly dubbed “The Year of the Women”, the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections saw a record-breaking number of women running for office.

Now that many results have been announced, get to know six newly elected members of Congress that are changing the face of American politics.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York

A third-generation New Yorker born in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez was the first person in 14 years to challenge Representative Joe Crowley (D) for his seat.

At 29 years old, she is the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress.

“To me, what socialism means is to guarantee a basic level of dignity,” Ocasio-Cortez says of Democratic Socialists of America, the leftist organisation to which she belongs.

Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts’ 7th district

After winning an uncontested race, Democrat Ayanna Pressley became the first Black woman elected to represent Massachusetts.

Some of the issues she will address while in office are immigration, criminal justice, and issues disproportionately impacting women and girls.

“This is not just about resisting and affronting Trump,” Pressley recently reminded her supporters.

“Because the systemic inequalities and disparities that I’m talking about existed long before that man occupied the White House.”

Deb Haaland, New Mexico

Former chairperson of the New Mexico state Democratic Party, Deb Haaland became one of the first Native American women elected to Congress on Tuesday night.

She’s most interested in fighting the effects of climate change, preserving the environment, and being a voice for Native American communities.

“At every possible opportunity, I’ll work really hard to make sure tribal leaders have a seat at the table when there’s issues of importance,” Haaland told Vox.

Sharice Davids, Kansas

One of the first Native American women elected to Congress, Sharice Davids is also the first-ever openly LGBT member-elect from the state of Kansas.

She’s a former White House Fellow under the Obama Administration, and is fighting for better education, affordable healthcare, and gun safety, to name a few.

“Too many of us have gone through our entire lives not feeling seen and not feeling heard,” Davids said recently at a rally.

Rashida Tlaib, Michigan

Endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America and an outspoken critic of current U.S. President Donald Trump, Rashida Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American, and one of the first Muslim women, elected to Congress.

Her priorities include fighting for a higher minimum wage, securing equal pay for women, and ending voter suppression.

“The first thing I think about when somebody says you’re going to be the first Muslim is celebrate this moment. We changed the course of history at a time when we thought it was impossible,” Tlaib told CBS.

Ilhan Omar, Minnesota

Among the ranks of Tlaib is Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women in Congress and the first Somali-American member-elect.

Omar came to the U.S. over 20 years ago as a refugee, and among her stances are creating a just immigration system, establishing quality, single-payer healthcare for all Americans, and investing in restorative justice practices to dismantle systemic racism.

“Thank you! It is the honor of a lifetime to represent you in Congress,” Omar tweeted.

She also congratulated Tlaib: “Congratulations to my sister @RashidaTlaib on your victory! I cannot wait to serve with you, inshallah.”

“Right back at you sis @IlhanMN. I can’t wait,” Tlaib replied.


Photo by Josh Carter on Unsplash

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