An Election of Firsts: Congress elects the most diverse cabinet in history

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By Alicia Brown

November 6 was a monumental day for the United States Congress, as America elected what is now the most diverse cabinet in history, both in terms of gender and different ethnicities. This marks a new age for American policy and democracy as new strides will be made in diverse representation.

Most notably, there was a record number of women, 239, who were on the ballots. 187 of those women were democrats. Now elected, 94 women will serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, 12 as senators and 8 as governors. This breaks the record of women in congress with over 100 women elected to serve.

Historically, United States representatives have been primarily caucasian males. Thus, incumbents have proven to be the largest obstacle to new representation and more diversity in congress. However, now we see women representing states and districts that have never seen women or people of color in office. This includes the first female senator from such states as Tennessee and Arizona.

Seeing their fellow women run has given many of the recent candidates the impetus to run themselves. Lauren Underwood, a registered nurse who worked as an advisor in the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services, decided to challenge her representative, Illinois Republican Randy Hultgren. She will now be the youngest black female elected into Congress. Women like Underwood are fighting for representation, fighting for rights that belong to women, rather than white males.

“Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America,” Minority House leader Nancy Pelosi said just few days before the election at the Hyatt Regency in Washington D.C.

Many individuals have been highlighted in their newly elected positions. Democrats Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will become the first Native American women elected to Congress. Additionally, Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party member Ilhan Omar will become the first Muslim women in Congress as well. Not only are these politicians women, but women of color. This will bring about new ideas and concerns within policy that has never had such an outlet for representation.

Voter turnout has also proven to be crucial to the results of the election as it spiked in numbers during the 2018 midterm elections. It was estimated that approximately 114 million Americans voted, which is 31 million more than the 2014 midterm election, according to a the New York Times. This newfound diversity within those who will represent America is not about political correctness. Rather it is about diversity of perspective, of background, of life experience. It is a diversity that has value to every underrepresented individual in the United States. This is the start of new policy, new ideas and an overall more inclusive America.

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