The 116th United States Congress will grace the history books with an unprecedented number of women landing on the political stage. 100 women won elections in the 2018 midterms raising the representation to 102 in the House and 23 in the Senate. The power, diversity, skill set and activism that these new faces bring to the Congress will be a defining moment in history. They all represent their own uniqueness, diversity and strength that will surely shape a new dialogue at a most crucial time when our Democracy is under siege from within. Many ran for office because of issues that affected their generation and future generations. We are not in a good place in this country with the current administration and I am putting my money on these young dynamic women to be the instrument of change and make the changes this country needs.
Lauren Underwood, became the youngest black woman in history to be sworn in to the United States House of Representatives. Lauren is a Democrat from Naperville, Illinois. She is 32 years old and a registered nurse with two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University. Lauren began her political career as a policy professional in the Obama administration in 2014. Two years later, she became a senior adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services where she worked to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA). . She defeated the incumbent Republican, Randy Hultgren, in the Nov. 6 election, garnering 52.5 percent of the vote.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex of New York at age 29 is the youngest woman ever to be elected to in the House. She is an educator, and political activist. Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York's 14th congressional district. She is also known as a Democratic socialist, outspoken and focused on making a difference.
Rashida Tlaib, Democrat from Michigan and Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's nominee, were sworn in as the first Muslim women in the United States House of Representatives. Tlaib received national attention before she was sworn in when she adamantly said she would not vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. She added to controversy when she expressed expletives toward the sitting President at a private victory party. She also is accused of an anti-Semitic slur. Tlaiba from southwest Detroit won the seat of John Conyers, Jr., who served 52 years in the U..S. House.
Ilhan Omar, in addition to being one of the first Muslim women in Congress, will also be the first Somali-American member. She came to the U.S. more than two decades ago as a refugee. Omar also had the backing of Ocasio-Cortez in her primary race, and she will come to Congress having been an open critic of the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians. Omar will take the seat vacated by Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress.
Democrats, Sharice Davids and Debra Haaland became the first Native American women elected to Congress. In New Mexico, Haaland replaced Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who vacated the seat to run for governor, and Davids unseated Kansas GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder. Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and Haaland is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, according to their respective campaigns. Davids also identifies as a lesbian, making her the first openly LGBT member of Congress from Kansas. Haaland won her district's primary in June, which put her in position to take the general election against Republican congressional nominee Janice Arnold-Jones.