Though Republicans emerged from November's election with control of the White House and both houses of Congress, there were a number of Democratic victories, as well. Most notably, the 115th Congress will be the most diverse one in its history, thanks largely to 12 new Democratic Congresswomen.
As the 115th Congress is sworn in, it is important to remember that, while Republicans maintain control over both the Senate and the House of Representatives, they will be joined by twelve new female colleagues who bring a diversity of backgrounds — and a readiness to fight — to the table.
Indeed, the Democratic caucus taking office this year makes this session of Congress the most diverse in United States history.
Joining the Senate are Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Asian American and disabled Iraq War veteran; Kamala Harris of California, who is of Jamaican and Indian ancestry; Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate; and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.
And in the House of Representatives, new members Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire will be sworn in alongside six women of color: Nanette Diaz Barragán of California, a Latina American; Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii, of Japanese ancestry; Stephanie Murphy of Florida, a Vietnamese American; Pramila Jayapal of Washington, an Indian American; and Val Demings of Florida and Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, both Black Americans.
All of these women bring experience and knowledge to the table, as well as an eagerness to join the fight alongside their Democratic colleagues:
Today I was sworn-in to the U.S. Senate. I am humbled and honored to serve you and the people of California. Let’s get to work. pic.twitter.com/LRScLiYgsS
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 3, 2017
I look forward to becoming the first female senator from Nevada and the first Latina in the U.S. Senate. Together, we made that happen.
— Senator Cortez Masto (@SenCortezMasto) January 3, 2017
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) January 3, 2017
First day in Congress. I’m so grateful for the people of #WA07 who sent me here to fight for our progressive values!
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 3, 2017
— Nanette Barragán (@Nanette4CA) January 3, 2017
In a statement to Shareblue, Jess O’Connell, the executive director of EMILY’s List, said:
We are excited to welcome our twelve new members on Capitol Hill today, and to usher in the most diverse Congress in American history. As Republicans gear up to launch a destructive agenda that would endanger women and families and turn back the clock on progress, we know how much we need these women in Congress. These Democratic women will stand up for hardworking Americans across the country and will serve as the checks and balances of our government that we need now more than ever.
As President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence work with Republicans in Congress to roll back or outright destroy so many of the recent progressive advances — from abortion rights and health care to workers’ rights, the environment, and LGBT equality — it will be crucial to have a united Democratic front working to protect the nation and its citizens, especially those of marginalized identities most at risk under the coming administration, from authoritarian overreaches of power.
These twelve women are primed to take leading roles in that opposition, and they are all ready and willing to step up. And as we look ahead to the troubling future under Trump, take heart that in spite of the events on November 8th, 2016, women’s voices have not and will not be silenced.