A record-breaking number of women will serve in Congress come January after the midterms brought in a historic wave of female candidates across both parties.
The 118th Congress is set to have 149 women serving in both chambers next year, seeing an uptick of just two female members from the current Congress. There are 535 seats in Congress total.
Still, significant gains were made to also expand the number of women of color. Several states and districts experienced historic “firsts” when it comes to representation.
More than half of the incoming class of 22 women in the House will be women of color. Overall, the House hit a high with 124 women set to take office.
Rep.-elect Mary Peltola, Alaska Democrat, will be the first Alaska Native to be sworn into Congress.
Rep.-elect Delia Ramirez, Illinois Democrat, will be the first Hispanic woman to serve the Midwest.
In a press conference with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Ms. Ramirez said she hopes to be the “first of many to come” from the Midwest, celebrating the gains made for diversity.
“I want you to look at us,” she said. “We are what America is. We are youngish, we are younger, we are Black, Brown, Latino, South Asian. We represent people who every single day are working so hard just to make ends.”
Republicans will also break their own record, with 42 new GOP women coming into Congress.
Sen.-elect Katie Britt will be the first woman elected from Alabama to serve in the Senate, succeeding retiring Sen. Richard Shelby.
“You’re going to see headlines about me being the first woman ever elected to the United States Senate from the state of Alabama,” Mrs. Britt said in her acceptance speech. “I don’t take any of these things for granted and the gravity of all of it is not lost on me. I am humbled. I am honored and grateful. I want you to know I understand what a tremendous responsibility these milestones carry, and I do not take that lightly.”
Her victory, along with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s reelection victory, brings the number of Republican women in the Senate to nine.
Republicans picked up one seat in the House for their number of women this year, going from 32 to 33.
The GOP also gained three female Hispanic members-elect, bringing their total to five Hispanic women serving as House Republicans.
• Mica Soellner can be reached at email@example.com.
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