This election cycle truly brought the saying “a woman’s place is in the House and Senate,” to life. Last week, 112 women candidates all over the country won elections to take or continue holding seats in the highest echelons of government. While many of the winning ladies are incumbents, we wanted to highlight the fourteen women who are new to their respective legislative offices. The following is your comprehensive list of every woman that won a seat in the House and Senate this election season and why they are awesome.
- Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Why she’s awesome: Harris is the second-ever African American woman elected to serve in the Senate. Before winning the Senate election, Harris served as California’s first African-American female Attorney General. She plans to utilize her role in Congress as a platform for immigrant rights.
- Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Why she’s awesome: An Iraq war veteran, Duckworth lost both her legs when the helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down. After retiring from the Army in 2014, Duckworth served as Congresswoman to Illinois’s 8th district. She plans to use her power as Senator to address veteran’s affairs issues and start including veteran voices in conversations about health care, deployment and foreign policy.
- Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Why she’s awesome: Cortez Masto represents another first as she is the first Latina ever elected to the Senate. A Nevada native, Cortez Masto has spent her career as a public servant, most recently as the Attorney General of the state. While in the Senate, she hopes to protect Medicare and Social Security as well as work with Congress to raise minimum wage.
- Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Why she’s awesome: As a career public servant, Hassan is making the move from state to federal legislature. She started as a member of the New Hampshire State Senate and has spent the last three years as the Governor of New Hampshire. As a Senator, Hassan plans to focus on climate change and reproductive rights.
- Stephanie Murphy (D-FL-7)
Why she’s awesome: Murphy has added another crack in the glass ceiling by becoming the first Vietnamese-American woman to be elected to Congress. She is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who were rescued at sea fleeing the communist country. Murphy joined the Department of Defense as a national security specialist after 9/11 with hopes of protecting the country that rescued her family. While not a career politician, Murphy is involved with several non-profits that work to empower women entrepreneurs.
- Jacky Rosen (D-NV-3)
Why she’s awesome: A computer scientist by trade, her election to Congress is Rosen’s first foray into politics. Rosen is the first member of her family to graduate college and has spent her time since then working as a software developer as well as dedicating herself to her Jewish congregation to build her community and help those in need. She hopes to continue fostering community development by empowering veterans, women, seniors and immigrants.
- Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH-1)
Why she’s awesome: Shea-Porter is a fighter. Since she was first elected in 2006, she has faced former Manchester Mayor, Frank Guinta for their district’s seat four elections in a row. During her tenure in Congress, Shea-Porter served on the Committees on Education and Labor, Armed Services, and Natural resources. She plans to continue her efforts in these issue areas and has also proposed a plan to fix congress through widespread reforms.
- Claudia Tenney (R-NY-22)
Why she’s awesome: Coming from the New York State Assembly, Tenney is no stranger to politics and public service. However, she has also made a name for herself as an attorney, author, and businesswoman. While in Congress, Tenney hopes to implement a jobs plan that fosters economic development in New York and throughout the country.
- Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DL-At Large)
Why she’s awesome: Blunt-Rochester has spent her life expanding opportunity for those around her. As the CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, she advocated for the inclusion of people of color. Additionally, she is the first woman and person of color to represent Delaware in Congress. Ultimately, she hopes to use her role in Congress as a platform to foster even more inclusion.
- Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7)
Why she’s awesome: Not only is Jayapal an Indian immigrant but she is also the first ever Indian-American woman elected to Congress. She moved to the United States when she was 16 and immediately started advocating for immigrant rights, eventually creating the pro-immigration advocacy group OneAmerica. Jayapal hopes to continue her pro-immigration advocacy throughout her time in Congress.
- Nannette Barragan (D-CA-44)
Why she’s awesome: Barragan explained that her motivation for running was to help people in her district achieve the American dream like she did. She started her political career by becoming the first Latina ever and first woman in ten years elected to California’s Hermosa Beach City Council. As a Congresswoman, Barragan will work towards increasing funding for schools and better paying jobs in her communities.
- Val Demings (D-FL-10)
Why she’s awesome: Demings started her career as a police officer and eventually served as the first female Chief of the Orlando Police Department. In that role, she was credited with founding innovative programs and significantly reducing crime in the area. She will continue to focus on national security and neighborhood safety through her tenure in Congress, in order to create safer neighborhoods in her home district and across the country.
- Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1)
Why she’s awesome: As only the third Buddhist elected to Congress and the granddaughter of Japanese immigrants who were sent to internment camps during World War II, Hanabusa has been fighting to end discrimination and fight for equality from an early age. She will continue this fight as she returns to Congress.
- Liz Cheney (R-WY-At Large)
Why she’s awesome: As the eldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney knows a few things about politics. Her public service career spans from USAID, DoD, and the State Department, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs. Cheney is a constitutionalist, hoping to use her time in the Legislature to defend the Constitution.
The political landscape wouldn’t be the same without these women tirelessly working for what they believe in. Stay tuned for more stories on what these, and other women throughout the government are doing in their new leadership roles.