Source: Business Insider
Black Americans have historically been underrepresented in the highest echelons of government.
The 116th Congress was sworn into office on Thursday, and the incoming House of Representatives is shaping up to be the most diverse House class in history.
The 2018 midterms saw historic gains in Congressional representation for women, people of color, LGBTQ+, and younger candidates — with the vast majority of those gains coming from Democrats.
A record 106 women were elected to serve in the 116th House, an increase of 15% over the 92 women who served in the 115th House. Combined with five new female Senators and 10 female Senators not up for re-election, a total of 131 women will serve in the 116th Congress.
While 52% of the 67 incoming House Democratic freshmen are female, only two, or 4.5% of the 44 incoming Republican freshmen are women — West Virginia’s Carol Miller and Arizona’s Debbie Lesko. Lesko won a special election earlier this year to replace Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal.
Republicans saw their roster of female House representatives gutted 43% from 23 members to 13, as many Republican women either stepped down to run for higher office — like Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee and Kristi Noem in South Dakota — or were unseated by Democratic challengers.
As the blue wave swept through suburban America, it unseated many Republican women in its wake, including Karen Handel in the Atlanta suburbs, Barbara Comstock in the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia, and Mimi Walters in Orange County, California — formerly reliable Republican areas.
The 116th House also boasts more women of color than ever before, including the first Native American women to serve in Congress and the first African-American women to represent Illinois and Massachusetts in the House, respectively.