As of January 3rd, 2018, a record-breaking 127 women sit in the United States Congress. This makes up approximately 24% of the Congress and includes 106 Democrats and 21 Republicans. 42 of these women were sworn in on Thursday. Among those elected include the first African-American woman to represent Connecticut, the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress, and the first openly bisexual person to serve on Congress. On top of all that, Nancy Pelosi was re-elected as Speaker of the House.
The 116th Congress of the United States of America is breaking barriers and changing history. Here’s everything you need to know about the women you elected.
Blackburn; Tennessee (R)
Marsha Blackburn is the first woman to be elected to Senate by Tennessee. Her biggest platform while running was the Violence Against Women Act. Blackburn is also one of the first two GOP women on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Hyde-Smith; Mississippi (R)
Cindy Hyde-Smith is Mississippi’s first female Senator. She defeated Democrat candidate Mike Espy in a racially-charged election.
Rosen; Nevada (D)
Jacky Rosen is the granddaughter of immigrants, and the first in her family to graduate from college. Rosen was the former President of Congregation Ner Tamid, the largest synagogue in the state of Nevada. Her biggest platform is STEM education, particularly for young girls.
Sinema; Arizona (D)
Kyrsten Sinema is the first openly-bisexual woman to be sworn into Congress. Notably, she was sworn in on a law book rather than a religious text. Sinema is the first woman to be elected to the Senate for Arizona. She defeated Martha McSally in the midterms, but both will serve in the Senate as McSally has been appointed to take the late Sen. McCain’s seat.
Smith; Minnesota (D)
Tina Smith is a lifelong public servant. Between working with nonprofits and community activism, Smith has made it her duty to serve her community. She claims to be “a Minnesotan by choice,” because she was born in New Mexico and moved north later in life. Smith has several platforms, including a diverse economy, standing up for LGBTQ+ families, and protection for immigrants.
Axne; Iowa (D)
Cindy Axne is one of the first two women to be elected to Congress from Iowa. She is a fifth-generation Iowan and a small-business owner. Between 2004 and 2015, Axne worked for the State Department “helping over twenty different state agencies deliver government services more effectively and efficiently for taxpayers.” Smith wishes to return democracy to the people.
Craig; Minnesota (D)
Angie Craig is the child of a single mother and was raised in a mobile-home park with the help of her maternal grandmother. Her biggest platform is affordable and accessible healthcare for all because she grew up without it. Other issues include women’s rights, national security, and protecting seniors.
Davids; Kansas (D)
Sharice Davids is the very first openly LGBTQ+ Native American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Davids was one of sixteen selected to participate in the prestigious White House Fellowship program in 2016-17. A graduate of Cornell University, this Ho-Chunk Nation woman will fight to be a voice for hard-working Kansanian families. Also, Davids is an avid martial artist.
Dean; Pennsylvania (D)
Madeleine “Mad” Dean is a champion for restoring decency and good governance to public service. She was endorsed by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Healthcare, the economy, and infrastructure were her campaign’s main platforms. Her favorite song is “Happy” by Pharrell Williams—she says it gets her “pumped up.”
Escobar; Texas (D)
Veronica Escobar is one of the first two Latina women elected to Congress from Texas. Escobar served two terms as a County Judge in El Paso, and “has been a strong voice for the values of Border communities.” She is dedicated to immigration reform and expanding the economy.
Finkenauer; Iowa (D)
Abby Finkenauer is one of the first two women elected to Congress from Iowa. At only 30 years old, she is one of the youngest women to be elected to Congress. She has established a reputation as “a staunch defender of working families and a vocal advocate for women.” As someone still paying off her student loans, Finkenauer is committed to making Iowa a place where everyone can get a good education and have a good life.
Fletcher; Texas (D)
Garcia; Texas (D)
Sylvia Garcia is one of the first two Latina women elected to the House of Representatives from Texas. She previously served as a Senator for Texas. Her priorities are veterans rights, immigrant rights, and women’s healthcare.
Haaland; New Mexico (D)
Deb Haaland is one of the first two Native American women to be elected to Congress. She is the child of two military parents and is dedicated to protecting veteran rights. She advocates for the underrepresented.
Hayes; Connecticut (D)
Jahana Hayes is Connecticut’s first elected black congresswoman. She was National Teacher of the Year in 2016 and plans to use her background in education to her advantage. She said, “I won’t spend time being angry and waiting for someone else to make a change.”
Hill; California (D)
Katie Hill is dedicated to bringing the voices of California to Washington, D.C. She lives in Agua Dulce, CA on a rescue animal farm with her husband. Her priorities are safety and security, rebuilding the middle class, healthcare, and representing the citizens of California—not special interests.
Horn; Oklahoma (D)
Kendra Horn is a strong advocate for women. She has worked for two different nonprofit organizations dedicated to developing leadership skills for women. Her other issues include healthcare, education, and gun reform.
Houlahan; Pennsylvania (D)
Chrissy Houlahan is a third-generation military servant. Houlahan is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and served in the United States Air Force. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Stanford University and her Master of Science in Technology and Policy from Massachusetts Institute for Technology. Houlahan worked as a chemistry teacher in Philadelphia. One of her big platforms is reforming the United States campaigning system.
Kirkpatrick; Arizona (D)
Ann Kirkpatrick has been around the block a few times. She has served two terms in the House of Representatives. This term, she serves a different district. Kirkpatrick is dedicated to building a fairer economy.
Lee; Nevada (D)
Susie Lee comes from a working-class family in Ohio. In 1993, Lee founded nonprofit After School All-Stars, which serves 7,000 kids every day after school. Her values include women’s rights, preserving the environment, and economic opportunity.
Lesko; Arizona (R)
Debbie Lesko served on the Arizona Legislature for nine years prior to running for Congress. The GOP candidate wants to secure U.S. borders, control federal spending, and reform healthcare.
Luria; Virginia (D)
Elaine Luria served in the United States Navy for twenty years with the philosophy “be good, do good work.” Luria majored in physics and history at the U.S. Naval Academy. She retired from the Navy in June, 2017. Because of her military background, Luria’s biggest priority is national security.
Miller; West Virginia (R)
Carol Miller is pro-life, pro-coal, and pro-Second Amendment. According to her website, she is the only candidate endorsed by President Donald Trump. Miller hopes to lower taxes, create new jobs, and end the opioid epidemic.
McBath; Georgia (D)
Lucia “Lucy” McBath started her career with Delta Air Lines, where she worked for 30 years. Her political career is focused mainly on safety and security for her community and country. McBath began her political journey after the her son was shot and killed in 2012 in Jacksonville, FL by a man who objected to the music he was playing. The shooter was found not guilty in his first trial due to Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law but was later found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in 2014. This fueled her lifelong commitment to activism and political engagement.
Mucarsel-Powell; Florida (D)
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is an immigrant from Ecuador. Along with her mother and sisters, Mucarsel-Powell moved to America for a better future. Mucarsel-Powell worked in a bakery at just fifteen years old to help her mother pay bills. She is very concerned with climate change, and hopes that her position in office will make a difference.
Ocasio-Cortez; New York (D)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made waves this season by earning the title of the youngest woman (just 29 years old) to be elected to the United States Congress. Ocasio-Cortez is very active on social media (@ocasio2018 on Instagram and @AOC on Twitter). The Puerto Rican democrat is “a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign and an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump [who] has fueled national attention with an aggressive social media presence and a progressive platform that calls for generational, racial, and ideological change.”
Omar; Minnesota (D)
Ilhan Omar is one of the first two Muslim women to serve on the United States Congress. Her family came to America from a Kenyan refugee camp over twenty-three years ago. She is the first person to wear Hijab to serve as well.
Porter; California (D)
Katie Porter is a UC Irvine law professor. She refused to accept money from corporations to fund her campaign. Porter hopes to reform President Trump’s tax plan, figure out a way to provide healthcare to all, and end political corruption.
Pressley; Massachusetts (D)
Ayanna Pressley is the first black congresswoman-elect to Massachusetts. She ran unopposed. Pressley’s platforms include the abolition of I.C.E. and advocating for Medicare. She was also the first black woman elected to the Boston city council in 2009.
Scanlon; Pennsylvania (D)
Mary Gay Scanlon represented Pennsylvania’s 7th district before this election. Scanlon will now represent the 5th district for this coming term. In 2017, Scanlon “became co-chair of the Voting Rights Task Force of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel which was formed to combat voter suppression and gerrymandering… Scanlon has a longstanding interest in promoting civics education to protect our democracy.” Other issues include supporting senior citizens, fair elections, and criminal justice reform.
Schrier; Washington (D)
Kim Schrier is a pediatrician from Washington. She speaks fluent Spanish and has long studied Latinx culture. Because of her background in medicine, her big platforms include healthcare reform, vaccination, and women’s health.
Shalala; Florida (D)
Donna Shalala is the grandchild of Lebanese immigrants; she was born and raised in Ohio. Shalala is familiar is Washington politics. She was appointed by President Clinton to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, was hand-picked by President Bush to co-chair the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors, and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Bush in 2008. Her platforms include traffic infrastructure, education, and climate-change awareness.
Sherrill; New Jersey (D)
Rebecca “Mikie” Sherrill is a former Navy pilot and graduate from the United States Naval Academy. After leaving the Navy in 2003, Sherrill earned her law degree and today works as a federal prosecutor. She says that “after a lifetime of service in the U.S. Navy and as a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s office, I believe it is important to stand up and serve again.” Sherrill’s platforms include ending the opioid crisis, social security, and putting people above politics.
Slotkin; Michigan (D)
Elissa Slotkin was greatly influenced by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. She decided then and there that after graduate school, she would work in the Intelligence community. Slotkin was later recruited by the CIA to work in the Middle East. She worked in the White House under both President Bush and President Obama. Slotkin will work tirelessly to make prescription drugs more affordable, ensure retirement security, and defend our freedoms.
Spanberger; Virginia (D)
Abigail Spanberger is a former CIA operative and a current Girl Scout leader. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Spanberger moved to Germany and earned her MBA from a dual-degree German-American program with Purdue University. She began her career in public service as a federal law enforcement officer working narcotics and money laundering cases with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Her platforms include border security and marijuana and hemp policy.
Stevens; Michigan (D)
Haley Stevens grew up as the daughter of two entrepreneurs. Determination, fiscal responsibility, and hard work were instilled in her at a young age. Her career has been focused on creating and maintaining jobs in Michigan. Her policies include preserving Michigan’s environment, standing up to Trump, and ensuring partnership with Israel.
Tliab; Michigan (D)
Rashida Tliab is one of the first two Muslim women to serve on the U.S. Congress, and the very first Palestinian-American woman to ever serve. Her children dabbed upon her swearing in, and she made history this week by telling the world that “we’re gonna impeach this motherf****r.” She was sworn in on Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Koran and wore a traditional Palestinian thobe.
Torres Small; New Mexico (D)
Xochitl Torres Small is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants. With years of public service experience under her belt, Torres Small knows how broken America’s immigration system is. She strives to protect clean water, develop the economy, and implement universal healthcare.
Trahan; Massachusetts (D)
Lori Trahan is serving in Congress to serve her family. A mother of two and a stepmother of three, Trahan noticed a drastic gap in communication between the American people and Congress. She hopes to protect voting rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ+ rights.
Underwood; Illinois (D)
Lauren Underwood credits the Girl Scout Promise as why she is dedicated to public service. Today, Underwood is a registered nurse in Illinois and was appointed by President Obama to serve as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Underwood suffers from a heart condition called supraventricular tachycardia which makes it difficult for her heart to maintain a steady rhythm. This experience showed Underwood the importance of affordable and accessible healthcare. She is also concerned with DACA and immigration.
Wexton; Virginia (D)
Jennifer Wexton hung the transgender pride flag outside of her Capitol office. Wexton is the aunt to a transgender child and wanted to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community on the Hill. Other issues with which Wexton is concerned include sustainable energy and healthcare.
Wild; Pennsylvania (D)
Susan Wild is a fighter for the working class. She hopes to better support the working and middle class in America. Wild is the child of a military family and moved frequently while in school; however, Lehigh Valley is the only place she’s ever considered “home.” She realized that she, her neighbors, and friends shared values that were not being reflected in Washington. Wild will work to create quality jobs for Pennsylvania and America, reform the criminal justice system, and preserve women’s reproductive rights.
It’s clear that the next two years will be marked by women. Each of these new congresswomen will bring something new to the table, and will likely make differences in the United States before November, 2020.