The New Face of Congress is Here and It’s Female

Starting in January 2019, the 116th Congress will see a record number of women. Approximately 118 women will be serving, which comprises an approximate 22 percent of Congress. While this is far from equality in terms of numbers, the 2018 Midterm Elections still saw history made for women. These firsts are inspirational in the simple truth that this will be the first time that multiple religious and ethnic minorities, as well as the LGBTQ+ community, will have someone in Congress advocating for their best interests.

This congress will also feature Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest congresswoman ever elected. The newly elected 29-year-old Democrat will represent New York’s 14th congressional district.

Growing up in the Bronx within a working-class Puerto-Rican family opened her eyes to the harsh realities of income disparity. Despite not having every opportunity handed to her, she worked hard to attend Boston University, majoring in economics and international relations.

After the death of her father, Ocasio-Cortex began bartending and waitressing to help support her family, especially her mother who worked as a house cleaner and bus driver. The only political experience she had was working on the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign and working for the immigration office of Senator Ted Kennedy.  In one of her campaign ads Ocasio-Cortez stated, “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office. I wasn’t born to a wealthy or powerful family.” Despite the odds being stacked against her, she went on to win the 2018 primary and unseated a well-known incumebent, then went on to win the 2018 midterm elections.

Being elected to Congress as a young woman of color, Ocasio-Cortez is trailblazing for future generations. This election is showing the landmark progress being made in society. People want leaders that are relatable, look like them and understand what is happening in everyday life.

These kind of relatable candidates have the potential to bridge the gap between everyday citizens and Congress.