Since the 117th U.S. Congress’s swearing-in, most conversations have surrounded the January 6th insurrection, the January 13th impeachment, and the January 20th inauguration. While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and new presidential administration monopolize conversations – let us take a moment to pause and highlight a few new female faces in Congress.
The 117th Congress is the most diverse in U.S. history, consisting of a glass ceiling shattering number of women, racial minorities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Amidst the field of new faces in Congress, there are a few we need to pay extra attention to – Cori Bush, Nikema Williams, and Teresa Leger Fernandez.
Cori Bush (Democrat – Missouri)
Cori Bush has made headlines since her marginal loss to incumbent Lacy Clay in 2018. Cori Bush began working in politics after the unrest in Furguson, Missouri, following the shooting of Michael Brown. Cori Bush ran against Representative Lacy Clay again in 2020 and beat him by a narrow margin in the primary election. Cori Bush is now the first Black woman to represent the state of Missouri in Congress.
Bush has already made a splash in her first month in D.C.. When she was sworn in, she joined “The Squad.” In the hours following the breach of the U.S. Capitol, Bush submitted a resolution to remove Republican representatives who supported Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the election.
Nikema Williams (Democrat – Georgia)
Nikema Williams was the first Black woman to serve as the chair of the Georgia Democratic Party. She is now serving as the first woman to represent her district in Georgia, including most of Atlanta. In Georgia, the fifth district, which Williams represents, had been represented by John Lewis from 1987 until his death in July 2020.
During the protests following the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, Nikema Williams was arrested at the Georgia State Capitol. (The charges have since been dropped.)
Teresa Leger Fernandez (Democrat – New Mexico)
Teresa Leger Fernandez is the first woman and first Latina to represent her district in New Mexico. As she serves alongside Representatives Yvette Herrell and Deb Haaland, she will be a part of the second-ever state delegation consisting entirely of women of color.
Before running for Congress, Leger Fernandez was an attorney in New Mexico; she focused on community-building and tribal advocacy. She also worked as a White House Fellow for the Clinton Administration and went on to serve on the “Advisory Council on Historic Preservation” under Obama. In 2017, Leger Fernandez ran a triumphant campaign to introduce rank-choice voting in Santa Fe, New Mexico’s municipal elections.
These new women in Congress represent a commitment to progressive policies that better the lives of individuals. Cori Bush, Nikema Williams, and Teresa Leger Fernandez have all proven they are willing to take the fight to the streets and protest for the causes they believe in. Bush, Williams, and Leger Fernandez have arrived in Washington ready to get to work, and we must follow along their journeys!