2019: The Year of Women

Entering into the new year, accompanied by fourth-wave feminism, the power balance of Washington,D.C. is changing with a record number of women elected into office.

The midterm elections in November of 2018 introduced a major change in the gender dynamics of the United States Congress. There was a record number of 36 women sworn into the House who were contesting male congress people. Among the now 102, predominately progressive, women in the House this year, are the first two Muslim congresswomen, first two Native American congresswomen, the first black women elected from Massachusetts, the first Hispanic women elected from Texas, and the youngest woman ever elected. 

Here are some of the new faces of Congress: 

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar: First Muslim Women in Congress

Illan Omar, the first Muslim congresswoman, will serve in Minnesota’s 5thCongressional district. Rashida Tlaib, the first Somali-American and daughter of Palestinian immigrants, took Michigan’s 13thCongressional District.  They both have similar progressive agendas including just immigration, insuring environmental justice, and providing health care coverage for all.  

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Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids : First Native American Women 

Sharice Davids, along with being one of the first two Native American women to be elected in, is also the first openly LGBTQ Kansan elected into Congress. Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and has lived and worked on Native American reservations. During her campaign, Davids voiced her platform for gun reform and expanding Medicaid's health coverage for more Americans. 

Deb Haaland,, a new representative for New Mexico. She is a member of Pueblo of Laguna tribe and is also pushing for gun reform, clean energy in New Mexico, and improving public education. 

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Ayanna Pressley: Massachusetts First Black Congresswoman 

Ayanna Pressley took the seat for Massachusetts’ 7thCongressional District. Her priorities going into congress cover issues regarding Public Health and Health Care. These issues include access and coverage for all, substance use disorders, maternal health, and reproductive and sexual health. 

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Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar: Texas’ First Latina Congresswomen

Veronica Escobar is a new Representative for Texas's 16th congressional district, based in El Paso. Her platform rests on supporting immigration reform particularly in communities at the southern border, environmental policy, expanding affordable healthcare, and improving quality of life for those with disabilities.  

Sylvia Garcia, elected into Texas’ Senate District 6, is originally from a Palito Blanco, Texas. Her priorities are similar to that of Escobar, focusing on veterans, immigrant’s rights, and women’s healthcare. 

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Youngest Woman Elected into Congress

Serving as House representative for New York’s 14thDistrict, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman in U.S. history to be elected in. Her campaign platform rests on expanded Medicare-for-All, a Federal Jobs Guarantee, tuition-free college and criminal justice reform. She was the first NY-14 candidate who ran without accepting lobbyist money. 

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The women elected into Congress are changing the dynamic of the United States government. Reflecting the current incumbents, most of the women elected into congress are democrats, with very progressive platforms. Even in the wake of the longest government shut down in U.S. history, there is can be an expected change in social and economic policies coming in the next few years.