Thu, Nov 08, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Midterm winners who made US history

CHANGING DEMOGRAPHIC:The House of Representatives is to welcome its first-ever Native congresswomen: Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico

The Guardian, with staff writer

US House of Representatives candidate Sharice Davids, left, and her mom, Crystal, celebrate on Tuesday after Davids won her race in Olathe, Kansas.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Women ran in record numbers this year, and Native Americans, Muslims, Latinos, immigrants, millennials and LGBT candidates have already made history with their campaigns.

Here are the key trailblazing candidates who are diversifying US politics and have won their races:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman elected to the US Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise victory in the June congressional primary in New York shook up Washington and the Democratic Party.

The progressive challenger and Democratic-Socialist unseated a powerful 10-term New York congressman, running with a campaign ad that said: “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office.”

Now age 29, she has become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Elise Stefanik previously held the record when she was elected at age 30 in 2014.

Ocasio-Cortez is the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Bronx-born father and grew up in a working-class community. She ran a grassroots campaign that took on the “Queens Democratic party machine” and championed progressive proposals, such as the abolition of the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), a single-payer healthcare plan and tuition-free college.

Ayanna Pressley is the first black House of Representatives member from Massachusetts.

Pressley was the first black woman to serve on the Boston City Council and made history again after defeating the 10-term Representative Michael Capuano in the primary.

She did not face a challenger in the general election.

“These times demanded more from our leaders and from our party. These times demanded an approach to governing that was bold, uncompromising and unafraid. It’s not just good enough to see the Democrats back in power, but it matters who those Democrats are,” she said in her victory speech in September.

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are the first Muslim congresswomen.

Tlaib ran unopposed in her race to represent Michigan’s 17th District and has become the nation’s first Palestinian-American woman in Congress, and one of two Muslim women elected on Tuesday.

She is a Democratic-Socialist who served on the state legislature from 2009 to 2014 and ran her congressional primary campaign supporting Medicare for all, a US$15 minimum wage and abolishing ICE.

Tlaib was famously escorted from a rally for then-US presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016 as she shouted questions at the candidate, asking him if he had ever read the constitution.

Omar, also the first Somali-American in Congress, is a former refugee who spent the past four years as a state legislator.

There, she pushed a progressive agenda, including a US$15 minimum wage and subsidizing higher education costs for low-income students.

Her congressional platform has included the cancelation of student debt, banning private prisons and aggressive funding cuts to military spending.

In 2016, she became the first Somali-American state legislator in the country.

Jared Polis is the first openly gay man elected governor.

As the Democratic nominee for governor in Colorado, Polis ran on a left-wing platform, which included single-payer healthcare, repeal of the death penalty, universal full-day preschool and stronger gun laws.

Polis, who declared victory late on Tuesday night, has long been outspoken in favor of marijuana legalization.

Kate Brown, who is bisexual, became the first openly LGBT person elected governor in 2016 when she won her Oregon race, while Jim McGreevey, a Democrat and former New Jersey governor, came out while in office in 2004.

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