Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

History made as two Muslim women elected to House of Representatives

Congresswoman elect Ayanna Pressley greets volunteers at the Cambridge Democratic Headquarters Ayanna Pressley Wins, Becoming Massachusetts’ First Black Congresswoman
| 08 November, 2018, 06:25

Democrat women flipped MI and Kansas, defeating male Republican incumbents. In five states - Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Washington and Wisconsin - female candidates challenged sitting female senators.

Now age 29, she has become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Elise Stefanik previously held the record when she was elected to Congress at age 30 in 2014. In Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, became the state's first woman elected to the Senate.

Ocasio-Cortez is also part of a historic number of women ― and a dramatic increase in women of colour specifically ― who won nominations in the 2018 midterms. She is the eldest of 14 children, is an attorney aligned with the party's liberal wing.

Democrats Sharice Davids, a lesbian mixed martial arts fighter, and Deb Haaland, became the first Native American women elected to Congress. Vermont has never sent a woman to Congress. Candidates like Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton in Virginia, Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey, and Angie Craig in Minnesota helped the party win Republican-held seats in the suburbs. Lauren Underwood in IL helped Democrats produce another unexpected victory. In July 2004, she took command of the 354th Fighter Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. - becoming the first woman to command a fighter squadron. "And make no mistake about it, we are the defenders of our democracy". "I am the daughter of a fabulous mother", she said.

"This isn't just the year of the woman, this is the year of every woman", said Cecile Richards, who served as the president of Planned Parenthood for more than a decade, noting the groundbreaking diversity among the women who have run for office this year.

In victory speeches across the country, women acknowledged the groundbreaking year.

Women occupy just 23% of the seats in the current US Senate and 19.3% in the House of Representatives, comparatively low rates in the developed world. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., would chair the Appropriations Committee, and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., would chair the Financial Service Committee. Months later, as a GOP legislature attempted to repeal the ACA, women activists made hundreds of thousands of phone calls to their representatives and confronted them at angry town halls. Nevada now has two female senators after Democrat Jacky Rosen defeated incumbent Republican Dean Heller.

IL state Rep. Juliana Stratton is the first black woman elected as IL lieutenant governor. Many female Democratic House candidates who prevailed on Election Day ran in opposition to Trump or his policies. One year ago, she was working in a restaurant, she ran a grassroots campaign with a progressive agenda including universal medicare, gun control and access to affordable housing.

Kelly Dittmar, a political scientist at the Rutgers center, the surge of women had changed American politics.

It means that women are better represented.


With black candidates in several high-profile races - including gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum of Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia - voters nationally said by 71-24 percent it's important to elect more racial and ethnic minorities to public office and 44 percent say it's very important. According to VoteCast, women voted considerably more in favour of their congressional Democratic candidate. Instead of downplaying their various backgrounds and ties to family ー they leaned in.

Women shattered records and precedents. Of the House winners, 42 identify as non-white, as does one of the Senate winners. A record number of women faced off against other women, from Arizona to NY.

Ayanna Pressley on Tuesday night officially became the first Black women to represent MA in Congress after officials confirmed her inevitable victory. They mobilised on the grassroots level and played larger roles as donors than in previous election cycles.

In a campaign advert, which garnered millions of views upon its release, she added: "Women like me aren't supposed to run for office".

Women running for governor, from Idaho to Texas to ME, faced the steepest hurdles of all.

In Colorado, Jared Polis will be the country's first openly gay man elected governor. Still, Gretchen Whitmer was elected governor in Michigan, Laura Kelly in Kansas, and Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico.

Democrats Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of MI will be the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, while Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley will represent Massachusetts' 7th Congressional District in the next Congress.

During the 2016 US Presidential Election, Ocasio-Cortez worked as a staffer on Bernie Sanders' ultimately unsuccessful bid for the presidency.

Nearly 80% of voters in a CNN exit poll said it's very or somewhat important that more women and racial minorities be elected to public office, with two-thirds of white voters agreeing. That 24-point split had widened from 8 points in June.

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