Congress Just Got More Diverse With Historic Election Firsts
We may not know for a while which septuagenarian white male won the presidential election on Nov. 3rd, but we do know for sure there were a number of firsts in down ballot races nationwide. They’re all worth celebrating.
New Mexico became the first state to elect all women of color to its delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. Democratic incumbent Rep. Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo Tribe, won reelection to her House seat against challenger Garcia Holmes. In 2018 Haaland made history as one of the first two Native American women to be elected to Congress.
“Tonight the people of New Mexico have chosen hope over fear, love over hate, community over division, and I am so honored that New Mexicans have chosen me to serve in our nation’s 117th Congress,” Haaland tweeted Tuesday night.
Tonight the people of New Mexico have chosen hope over fear, love over hate, community over division, and I am so honored that New Mexican’s have chosen me to serve in our nation’s 117th Congress.#nmpol pic.twitter.com/PJ3IacPC7X
— Deb Haaland (@Deb4CongressNM) November 4, 2020
Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez beat out Republican Alexis Johnson in the state’s third Congressional district.
“The people of New Mexico have chosen to protect what we love — our democracy, our planet, our families and communities, our health care and our future,” Leger Fernandez tweeted following the win. “With this victory, I promise you I will take the courageous action that this historic moment demands. Muchísimas gracias!”
The people of New Mexico have chosen to protect what we love – our democracy, our planet, our families and communities, our health care and our future. With this victory, I promise you I will take the courageous action that this historic moment demands. Muchísimas gracias! pic.twitter.com/KtoxfLTYsc
— Teresa Leger Fernandez (@TeresaForNM) November 4, 2020
Republican, a member of the Cherokee nation, won her challenge against incumbent Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in the state’s second district.
Elsewhere, New York Democrats Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres became the first two openly gay Black men elected to Congress. Jones will represent the New York City suburbs of Rockland and parts of Westchester. The district is largely white and affluent, with a median income of $108,000.
Growing up, I never imagined someone like me could run for Congress, let alone get elected. To grow up poor, Black, and gay is to not see yourself anywhere. Now, I am honored to have the opportunity of a lifetime.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/YGm7uJrBaf
— Mondaire Jones (@MondaireJones) November 4, 2020
Torres’s district in the Bronx is largely Hispanic and Black, with a median income of just $31,000.
It’s official. We won! It is the honor of a lifetime to be able to serve our community in Washington DC. The counting took longer than expected, but today the @BOENYC certified our victory & I want to say thank you.. pic.twitter.com/j2ygMbQXSA
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) August 4, 2020
In Missouri, Cori Bush, a nurse and onetime homeless woman who led protests following a white police officer’s fatal shooting of a Black 18-year-old in, ousted longtime Rep. William Lacy Clay Tuesday, ending a political dynasty that has spanned more than a half-century.
I am the first nurse going to Congress from Missouri—in the middle of a pandemic. Nurses all across the country have risked their lives to save others. Working class people need representatives who look like them and who have experienced their struggles. I am that champion.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 4, 2020