Women of Western: Election night history
For many the election was a devastating loss. Hillary Clinton will not be the first female U.S. president. Of course the election upset people for many different reasons. But a historic moment was missed, and for the second time Clinton’s campaign didn’t cross the finish line. Clinton addressed the issue in her concession speech.
“Now I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now,” she said.
Though an emotional time, Clinton spoke in hope of the change to come. That change was already made apparent through some of the results of the Nov. 8 election. Seven woman stood out and made history in more ways than one.
- Pramila Jayapal, Washington State: The first Indian-American woman to be elected into the House of Representatives. Jayapal was endorsed by Bernie Sanders last spring.
- Stephanie Murphy won a House seat in Florida, the first Vietnamese-American woman to be elected to Congress. Murphy was endorsed by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. She is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees and is the first woman in her family to go to college. Murphy was able to win the campaign despite her late start in June and no history in politics. After the 9/11 attacks, Murphy served as a national security specialist in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
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- Kamala Harris, California: Both of Jamaican and Indian descent, Harris is now the second African-American woman ever elected to Senate and the first Indian-American senator. Harris is also the first African-American senator to represent California. This win increases women of color in the Senate from one to four.
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- Kate Brown, Oregon: The first openly LGBTQ+ governor to be elected in the U.S. While she stepped into the role in 2015 when former Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned over an influence-peddling scandal, this election marks her first win.
- Ilhan Omar, Minnesota: The first Somali-American Muslim female legislator in the U.S. Omar was born in Somalia and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before moving to the U.S. at the age of 12.
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- Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada was elected to the Senate making her the first Latina senator. She is the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant and focused her campaign on immigration overhaul and future Supreme Court picks. Before her election, Cortez was a Nevada attorney general.
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- Tammy Duckworth, Illinois: She won her senate race, making her the first female senator to have seen combat. The military veteran lost both her legs during the Iraq war when her helicopter was shot down in 2004. Duckworth is the first Thai-American woman in Congress.
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With these victories in mind it helps restore faith that one day the glass ceiling Clinton spoke of might soon be broken.
“And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams,” Clinton said at the end of her speech. Hopefully, the success of these seven inspiring women will help prove to girls around the world this is a possibility.