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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

This election year was a huge win for women everywhere, with major wins in every branch of government under the new Congress. We already know how Kamala Harris is making history as the first Black, southeast Asian, female vice president (!!!), so let’s check out a couple of other boss ladies making their way into office this year.

Sarah McBride

Sarah McBride is the state senator-elect for Delaware and is the first openly transgender state senator! Before her run of office, McBride was a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, making huge contributions to advocacy for gender and transgender non-discrimination, she also interned in President Obama’s White House. As a Senator, she supports policies for affordable healthcare, expanding paid medical and family leave, funding public education, and reforming the criminal justice system. On her decision to run for state senator, Sarah refers to state legislatures as “the laboratories for democracy” and when asked if she would serve in President-elect Biden’s Cabinet, reaffirms that she specifically wants to serve the community of Delaware. 

Cori Bush

Cori Bush is the first black Congresswoman for Missouri, representing Missouri’s first district, which includes St Louis. Bush wears many hats: nurse, pastor, single mom, Black Lives Matter community organizer, and now Congresswoman-elect.  As a native of Ferguson and representative of St. Louis — a city with high rates of poverty, crime, and racially motivated violence — Bush stands firm on her policies for criminal justice and prison reform, housing, medicare, and education for all, and economic justice. Bush has made the BLM movement a central focus of her campaign, even making news recently as she reveals that her colleagues called her ‘Breonna’ when she wore a mask honoring Breonna Taylor to new member orientation on Capitol Hill. Fun fact: Bush thrifted her business attire for Congress!

Deb Haaland

Deb Haaland has been reelected as Congresswoman For New Mexico and, along with fellow congresswomen-elects Yvette Herrell and Teresa Leger Fernandez, makes up the first group of elected representatives from a state to all be women of color. Specifically, Haaland is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna and was one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in 2018. Haaland has already made major strides in climate protection, equality for LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities, and support for military families and veterans in a short time in office. Most notably, she is a strong representative for indigenous communities in New Mexico and around the country. She valiantly fights to protect public lands, the environment, Native people, and Medicare for all. Haaland proudly asserts herself as a 35th generation New Mexican. (Update: on December 17th, she was named the Secretary of Interior for the Biden Administration, making her the first Native American to serve in the post and as a Cabinet Secretary!)

Mauree Turner

Turner, a newly elected House representative for Oklahoma, broke down, not one, but two major boundaries on Election Day: they became the first openly non-binary state legislator and Oklahoma’s first Muslim lawmaker. Turner cites their call to action as their father’s incarceration, saying, “the more I learned about my father’s experience, the more passionate I became about criminal justice reform” and aims to specifically help black women who have been wronged by the system. In addition, Turner is passionate about Oklahoma’s public education funding, raising the minimum wage, and integrated healthcare.  On coming out as non-binary, Turner hopes to represent their district in a way that “creates a safe space for others to be heard and feel loved—just like the one my mom provided for [them]”.

Marilyn Strickland

Born in Seoul, Korea, Strickland is the Congresswoman-elect for Washington state’s 10th congressional district and is the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress. As if she couldn’t shatter any more records, she is also the first black person to represent Washington state in Congress. She is passionate about climate change and clean air and water initiatives, gun safety, immigration, criminal justice reform, and building an inclusive economy; including retirement salaries, universal healthcare and military support. 

If you want a first hand account of more women running for federal office and the barriers they overcame to win, I highly suggest Knock Down the House on Netflix. The documentary follows Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, and Paula Jean Swearingen on their campaign trails in 2018. All of these amazing women have given so many people and communities a seat at the table through the power of representation in houses of power and made progress towards gender and racial equality through their elections alone. Here’s to what they’ll do next!


All information used for this article was sourced from the candidates’ campaign website. All other sources are linked.

Julia is a first-year economics student at UC Santa Barbara. She is an avid swimmer and water sport enthusiast. In her free time, Julia loves watching everything Netflix has to offer, making Spotify playlists, binging podcasts, and rooting for her favorite football team. Julia has not missed an episode of Saturday Night Live since 2016 and her greatest goal is to write and publish a book.
 University of California, Santa Barbara chapter of Her Campus