The 2018 midterms was an election of many firsts, with historic wins achieved by political candidates from diverse segments of America including a record-setting number of women, over 100 in the House of Representatives and 23 in the Senate according to the ABC.
There were also groundbreaking political wins from minority communities such as the LGBT, African Americans, Muslims and Native Americans and even the millennial population.
Here are some incredible trailblazers changing America’s political landscape and representing its wonderfully diverse nation:
Youngest woman to be elected to Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
She just turned 29 years old making progressive self-described Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress, representing New York’s 14th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. She was just 28 when she decided to run.
Prior to Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman to hold a position in Congress was Elise Stefanik who was elected at age 30 in 2014.
After her victory, she turned to Instagram and shared a post which read: “Words will never be enough to express my gratitude. Thank you to the people of the Bronx and Queens for choosing to make history and sending me to Congress. Thanks to every organizer, supporter, and small-dollar donor who made this happen.”
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Today’s the day. To the countless supporters, door-knockers, organizers, small-dollar donors, and everyone in between – thank you. . This journey has been one of the most challenging and rewarding collective efforts I’ve ever been a part of. We haven’t just run a campaign – we created a movement in our own backyard. We built community. We centered issues that no one wanted to talk about. We uplifted our neighbors and discovered a level courage + friendship we never thought possible. . Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey and followed us along to this moment. No matter what happens, this is just a beginning. Let’s continue walking shoulder-to-shoulder in the advancement of economic, social, + racial justice in the United States of America.
First African American Congresswoman in Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley
Democrat Ayanna Pressley made history by becoming the first black woman to be elected to the House of Reps from Massachusetts.
In a TV interview with CNN the day after her historic win, Pressley said:
“It is humbling and surreal. In order for there to be a second, there has to be a first and so I’m encouraged by the strides that we’re making although they’ve happened incrementally, it does seem that, considering Massachusetts and the trends throughout the country, that there was a seismic shift that occurred last night. And I know that the people in the districts that we represent will be better served by a more diverse, inclusive and representative government.”
First Muslim women elected to Congress, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib
The first Muslim women ever elected to Congress are Progressive Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib who both won by a landslide in their congressional districts (Tlaib ran unopposed).
A former refugee, Ilhan Omar breaks ground becoming the first Somalian American ever to be elected to Congress (winning Minnesota’s fifth Congressional seat), as well as the first hajib-donning woman to serve in Congress.
Rashida Tlaib broke ground when she became the first Muslim American woman to serve in the Michigan state Legislature. She now holds the record for being the first Palestinian American woman ever to be elected to Congress.
They will both serve in the House of Reps.
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Adam met a compassionate president yesterday. I told President Obama that Adam wants to be a meteorologist. The President smiled at him and said (as he has one hand on his shoulder), "well I would believe your forecasts." The smile on Adam's face was priceless. A President that helps our children believe in themselves! 2020 is not close enough.
First Native American women elected to Congress, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland
Two Native American women who won their congressional races by huge margins are Democrats Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland who will both serve in the House of Reps. According to CNN, Sharice Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and Haaland is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna.
Sharice Davids is a lawyer, former mixed martial arts fighter and the first openly gay candidate to win in Kansas, identifying as a lesbian.
Deb Haaland won the congressional race to represent New Mexico’s 1st congressional district in the House of Representatives.
First female governor of Maine, Janet Mills
Democrat Janet Mills won the governor’s race becoming the first woman in Maine to hold the office.
In her victory speech, Mills said to the cheering, applauding and tearful crowd: “I do hope this election sends a powerful signal, a message to women and girls of Maine of any age: there is no obstacle that you cannot overcome. None! There is nothing you can’t do!”
— NEWS CENTER Maine (@newscentermaine) November 7, 2018
First Latina Congresswomen in Texas, Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar
The first Hispanic women ever to be elected to Congress in Texas are Democrats Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar, both representing the state in the House of Reps.
According to NBC, Latinos make up nearly 40 percent of the state’s population, but Texans hadn’t elected any Hispanic women to Congress until the midterms.
Veronica Escobar who has held a seven-year career serving in El Paso as a county commissioner and as a county judge, will represent Texas’ 16th congressional district.
Sylvia Garcia, a former city controller in Houston and State Senator, will represent Texas’ 29th congressional district. A Twitter post in January makes it clear why Garcia won, she tweets:
“I’ve dedicated my life to my community and public service, and want to take my fight for working families, immigrant justice, women’s rights, and equity for all to Washington.”
I've dedicated my life to my community and public service, and want to take my fight for working families, immigrant justice, women's rights, and equity for all to Washington. Join #TeamSylvia's progressive grassroots movement in CD29 today by donating at https://t.co/uFMfoh4wKq pic.twitter.com/7pCwvfdywD
— Congresswoman-elect Sylvia Garcia (@SenatorSylvia) January 18, 2018
First openly gay man elected governor, Jarid Polis
On Tuesday night Colorado elected as its Governor Democrat Jarid Polis, a self-made entrepreneur with a passion for improving educational opportunities for minorities who now holds the record for being the first openly gay man ever elected Governor.
In his victory speech, Polis said to the crowd: “As your governor, I want to protect our Colorado way of life… and I pledge to serve all Coloradans no matter your party, no matter where you live, no matter your race, no matter your gender – we are all in this together.”
First female senator from Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn
Republican Marsha Blackburn has been elected as Tennessee’s first woman senator, beating out former Gov. Phil Bredesen and making history in the process. “I’m a hardcore, card-carrying conservative. I’m politically incorrect and proud of it,” she said in her campaign announcement.
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?Always great to visit our service men & women of the @101stAASLTDIV at FortCampbell. Special thanks to Senator @tomcottonar for joining me. These soldiers, leaders & civilians serve as one of the most agile units in the @usarmy. Thank you for all you do to protect Tennesseans & Americans!?
First woman governor of Guam, Lou Leon Guerrero
Lou Leon Guerrero, the current president of the Bank of Guam, has just been elected as the first female governor of Guam, a US island territory of 160,000 people. She won by a landslide against Republican opponent Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio.
BREAKING: Guam voters have flipped the governorship blue — and made history!
Congratulations to Guam’s first woman governor, Lou Leon Guerrero! pic.twitter.com/9DoYg1v9JP
— Democratic Governors (@DemGovs) November 6, 2018
First woman elected to Congress in Iowa, Abby Finkenauer
Raised in a blue-collar community, Democrat Abby Finkenauer is the first woman elected to Congress from Iowa. At 29 years of age, she is also one of the youngest people ever to be elected. She is also open about financial circumstances, on her website it reads that “she still has over $15,000 in student loan debt”, a transparency that is becoming rare in politicians.
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Today is the day we’ve been waiting for…. the day Iowa stands up and says loud and clear we step up for our friends, family, and neighbors. Here’s your 500th reminder: VOTE. TODAY. POLLS open until 9 PM in Iowa. Go to mypollingplace.org to find out where… you can still register AT THE POLLS, so bring friends! All of them! ?? #ia01
First female governor in South Dakota, Kristi Noem
Republican Kristi Noem made history on Tuesday night by becoming the first female elected as governor of South Dakota, one of the few Republican candidates making history during the 2018 midterms. Noem defeated Democratic opponent Billie Sutton in a super close race.
In her victory speech Noem shares: “I just had a conversation with Billie Sutton and it was a wonderful conversation. I told him that he worked hard throughout this campaign and talked about issues that I believe that are important to all South Dakotans, about working together to get things done.”
First African American Congresswoman in Connecticut, Jahana Hayes
Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year has won her race to become the first black woman to be elected to Congress, representing Connecticut’s 5th congressional district. She also becomes one of two first black women, alongside Pressley, to be elected in New England.
“This history teacher is making history,” 2016 National Teacher of the Year @JahanaHayesCT told her supporters at a victory celebration in Waterbury last night. “I am honored to be your next congresswoman.” https://t.co/f1gPmFt4So
— CT Education Assoc. (@ceanews) November 7, 2018
First Latina Lieutenant Governor of Florida, Jeanette Nuñez
Newly elected Democrat Jeanette Nuñez has become the first Hispanic women to hold the position of Lieutenant Governor in Flordia. Cuban American, she is also the highest-ranking Hispanic female in the history of the state of Florida.
She beat out Rep. Ron DeSantis, who beat Democrat Andrew Gillum in a high-profile congressional race that was followed closely across the country.
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank each person who volunteered, contributed, and prayed for Ron and I. I’m so thankful to God for His ever present help. This victory is for Him! #GodIsGood #floridagovernor @RonDeSantisFL pic.twitter.com/yD3hGPRVUd
— Jeanette M. Nunez (@RepJNunez) November 7, 2018
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