First Woman Representative - History

First Woman Representative - History



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Mae Ella Nolan became the first woman member of the House of Representatives. She succeeded her husband. In 1925, Mary T. Hokins Norton became the first woman to be elected on her own.

Meet the first Latina senator in U.S. history and other women of color who broke barriers last night

Tuesday night was a rough night for many women and minorities across the country, with the announcement that Donald J. Trump would become the 45th President of the United States, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But even though the ultimate glass ceiling remains intact, women &mdash particularly women of color &mdash had some very significant victories at the local and state level.

This election saw the election of the United States&rsquo first Latina senator, first female Indian-American congresswomen, first female Vietnamese-American congresswoman, and first Somali-American Muslim woman legislator.

Meet the women who prove there is still room for diversity in politics.

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina senator in U.S. history when she defeated Republican Rep. Joe Heck.

Masto, who is the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant and served two terms as Nevada&rsquos chief law enforcement officer, will fill the seat left behind by the retirement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D). Her campaign focused on comprehensive immigration reform, equal pay for equal work, an increased minimum wage, and paid family leave.

I'm proud to be Nevada's 1st female and our nation's 1st Latina senator. It&rsquos about time our government mirrors the diversity of our nation.

&mdash CatherineCortezMasto (@CatherineForNV) November 9, 2016

She gave her victory speech just before the presidential election was announced for Trump, and announced her intention to fight against him in the Senate.

&ldquoI will promise you this, I will be one hell of a check and balance on him,&rdquo she told her supporters.

California Senator Kamala Harris (D)

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican-American father, had a truly trailblazing win in California, where she defeated fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez.

Harris is the first-ever Indian American senator, the first black senator from California, and the second-ever black female senator. (The only other black woman in the Senate was last in office in 1999.)

&ldquoWhatever the results of the presidential election tonight, we know that we have a task in front of us. We know the stakes are high,&rdquo Harris told her supporters during her victory speech in Los Angeles. &ldquoWhen we have been attacked and when our ideals and fundamental ideals are being attacked, do we retreat or do we fight? I say we fight!&rdquo

Florida Representative Stephanie Murphy (D)

Democrat Stephanie Murphy got a key victory in Florida when the defeated John Mica, a Republican who has been in Congress for 23 years, in Florida&rsquos 7th Congressional District.

Murphy is now the first Vietnamese-American woman to ever be elected to Congress. She is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, who were rescued by the U.S. navy at sea while they fled communist Vietnam in a boat.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Florida for the faith you have placed in me. I'm incredibly honored, and I will make you proud. #FL07 pic.twitter.com/PQDnH34Oeb

&mdash Stephanie Murphy (@SMurphyCongress) November 9, 2016

According to the Washington Post, this was one of the tightest and most expensive House contests in the nation. Murphy, 37, is a first-time candidate and said she was inspired to enter the race after the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Minneapolis State Representative Ilhan Omar (D)

In Minnesota, Ihlan Omar became the first Somali-American Muslim woman legislator in American history when she was elected to the state legislature on Tuesday night.

Omar&rsquos family escaped the Somali civil war when she was eight, then spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before immigrating to the United States.

&ldquoIt&rsquos the beginning of something new,&rdquo Omar said. &ldquoThis district has a legacy of making history. I am excited for our progressive values and to be able to be on the ground at the Capitol representing the diverse people of my district and being a champion with them and for them.&rdquo

When Omar first arrived in the United States, she was struck by the prevalence of racial and economic inequality and religious intolerance in the country. She ran a campaign focused on criminal justice reform, climate change, and economic equality.

&ldquoIt is the land of liberty and justice for all, but we have to work for it,&rdquo Omar told The Huffington Post in October.

Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal (D)

Pramila Jayapal, who is currently a state representative in Washington, defeated fellow democrat Brady Walkinshaw on Tuesday to win the state&rsquos 7th Congressional District (which the Seattle Times described as &ldquosuper liberal&rdquo) and become the first Indian-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jayapal, 57, supports a $15-an-hour minimum wage and a ban on assault weapons, and opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership.

To everyone that has been a part of this movement &mdash THANK YOU! #TeamPramila pic.twitter.com/q5EYRO7HjS

&mdash Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) November 9, 2016

She immigrated to America when she was 16 years old, and with the Trump presidency becoming a reality as she gave her victory speech, she addressed the difficulty of the road ahead of this country.

&ldquoIf our worst fears are realized, we will be on the defense as of tomorrow,&rdquo she told her supporters in Seattle. &ldquoWe will have to fight for social justice as never before.&rdquo

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth (D)

Tammy Duckworth, who is currently a representative for Illinois, defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk (R) on Tuesday. The daughter of a Thai mother of Chinese descent is a military veteran who lost both of her legs in the Iraq War.

Duckworth is the first female senator to have seen combat, the second Asian-American woman to be elected to the Senate in U.S. history, and the second female senator from Illinois. She is taking the Senate seat that used to be occupied by President Barack Obama.

&ldquoI will go to work in the Senate looking to honor the sacrifice and quiet dignity of those Illinoisans facing challenges of their own,&rdquo Duckworth said on Tuesday. &ldquoAfter all, this nation didn&rsquot give up on me when I was my most vulnerable and needing the most help. I believe in an America that doesn&rsquot give up on anyone who hasn&rsquot given up on themselves.&rdquo


10 Oldest Women Currently in Congress (Updated 2021)

In 1916, Jeannette Rankin made history when she became the first woman to hold federal office in the United States. Rankin was a suffragist and fought for women’s rights. Serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rankin paved the way for every woman who has served in Congress since then.

All of the women on this list have had long careers as politicians and public servants. Many of them started out in education and went on to start political careers to make a difference in their local communities. These women range in age from their late 70s to late 80s and show women and girls everywhere that its never too late to go after what you want.

As of February 2021, this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed.

10. Rosa DeLauro (March 2, 1943 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 77 years, 11 months, 5 days
Chamber: House of Representatives
State: Connecticut’s 3rd District
Political Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: January 3, 1991

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Rosa DeLauro has been serving in Congress for over 30 years and represents Connecticut’s 3 rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before being elected to Congress, DeLauro worked as Senator Chris Dodd’s chief of staff and campaign manager, was the executive director of EMILY’s List, and coordinated the tri-state area campaign of 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. DeLauro is part of the progressive wing of the House’s Democratic Party and is one of the founding members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Did You Know?

In 2020, Rosa DeLauro was selected as the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee for the 117th Congress, succeeding Nita Lowey and becoming the second woman to hold the position.

9. Kay Granger (January 18, 1943 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 78 years, 20 days
Chamber: House of Representatives
State: Texas’s 12th District
Political Party: Republican
Assumed Office: January 3, 1997

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Kay Granger is a long-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas’s 12 th District. Granger was the first Republican woman to represent Texas in the House of Representatives and has since earned a reputation for her conservative politics. Currently, Granger is the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee as well as the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference. Prior to entering politics, Granger was a teacher and the owner of successful small business in her home town of Fort Worth, Texas.

Did You Know?

In 1991, Kay Granger became the first female mayor of Fort Worth, Texas and served two terms.

8. Anna Eshoo (December 13, 1942 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 78 years, 1 month, 25 days
Chamber: House of Representatives
State: California’s 18th District
Political Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: January 3, 1993

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Anna Eshoo is the U.S. House Representative for California’s Silicon Valley area, a position she has held since 1993. Eshoo’s political career started in 1978 when she became the Chair of the San Mateo Democratic Party. She then went on to become a member of the Democratic National Committee. After this, Eshoo was chief of staff to Speaker pro tempore Leo McCarthy of the California State Assembly. Eshoo first made a bid of the House of Representatives in 1988, but ended up losing.

Did You Know?

Anna Eshoo – who is of Assyrian and Armenian descent – is the only Assyrian American in Congress, and is also one of only two congresswomen of Armenian descent, with Jackie Speier being the other.

7. Frederica Wilson (November 5, 1942 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 78 years, 3 months, 2 days
Chamber: House of Representatives
State: Florida’s 24th District
Political Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: January 3, 2011

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Frederica Wilson has been serving Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011. Before becoming a Congresswoman, Wilson was a member of Florida’s Senate and the state’s House of Representatives. Wilson was also a teacher, principal, and a member of the Miami-Dade County School Board. As a Congresswoman, Wilson has fought to improve the quality of life for her constituency by creating jobs with dignity, improving education, stopping home foreclosures, safeguarding Medicare and Social Security, and strengthening ties with Haiti and the Caribbean.

Did You Know?

While Frederica Wilson was working as an educator, she founded the 5000 Role Models program, which seeks to bring down dropout rates.

6. Lucille Roybal-Allard (June 12, 1941 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 79 years, 7 months, 26 days
Chamber: House of Representatives
State: California’s 40th District
Political Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: January 3, 1993

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Lucille Roybal-Allard is one of the many Congresswomen on this list from California. Roybal-Allard has represented the 33 rd , 34 th , and now 40 th district of the state and has been in office for over 26 years. As a Latina Congresswoman, Roybal-Allard has made many firsts, including being the first Latina to serve as one of the 12 “cardinals,” or chairs, of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as the first Latina to serve on the House Appropriations Committee. Roybal-Allard is also the first woman to chair the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as well as the first woman to chair the California Democratic congressional delegation.

Did You Know?

In addition to making many firsts in Congress, Lucille Roybal-Alalrd founded the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform.

5. Nancy Pelosi (March 26, 1940 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 80 years, 10 months, 12 days
Chamber: House of Representatives
State: California’s 12th District
Political Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: June 2, 1987

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Nancy Pelosi made history in 2007 when she became the first woman to ever serve as Speaker of the House, one of the most powerful positions in the U.S. government. Pelosi was Speaker the first time from 2007 to 2011. When the Democrats won the majority in the House in the 2018 midterm elections, Pelosi was once again appointed Speaker at the start of the next year.

Before becoming Speaker of the House, Pelosi served as House minority leader from 2003 – 2007 and again from 2011 – 2019. Pelosi was the first woman to ever lead a party in Congress.

Did You Know?

During her first time as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi was instrumental in passing many landmark bills, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the 2010 Tax Relief Act.

4. Maxine Waters (August 15, 1938 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 82 years, 5 months, 23 days
Chamber: House of Representatives
State: California’s 43rd District
Political Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: January 3, 1991

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Maxine Waters is another long-serving Democratic member of the House of Representatives from California. Waters is the most senior member of the twelve Black women currently serving in Congress. Beginning her political career in the 1970s, Waters has made a name for herself for being outspoken and critical of Republican presidents George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Additionally, Waters has always advocated for women, children, people of color, and the poor.

Did You Know?

In 2019, Maxine Waters became the first woman and first African American Chair of the House Financial Services Committee.

3. Grace Napolitano (December 4, 1936 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 84 years, 2 months, 3 days
Chamber: House of Representatives
State: California’s 32nd District
Political Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: January 3, 1999

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Grace Napolitano is another woman in her 80s who has been in Congress since the 1990s. Although Napolitano’s district has been redrawn a few times since she first assumed office in 1999, she has been able to win each of her reelection campaigns. Napolitano began her political career in 1986 when she became a member of the Norwalk City Council. Over the years, Napolitano has been a part of many committees including the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee on Water and Power Subcommittee on Highways and Transit and many more.

Did You Know?

Grace Napolitano had previously worked for the Ford Motor Company and worked her way up, holding various positions in the company, and retired in 1992.

2. Eddie Bernice Johnson (December 3, 1935 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 85 years, 2 months, 4 days
Chamber: House of Representatives
State: Texas’s 30th District
Political Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: January 3, 1993

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Eddie Bernice Johnson has been the Representative for Texas’s 30 th district since 1993. Johnson is the second oldest woman in Congress, but the oldest in the House of Representatives. Before becoming a politician for the first time in the early 1970s, Johnson worked for 16 years as Chief Psychiatric Nurse at the Dallas Veterans Administration Hospital, being the first African American woman to hold the position. During her time in Congress so far, Johnson has authored or co-authored more than 177bills that were passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the president.

Did You Know?

When Eddie Bernice Johnson first ran for a seat in the Texas House in 1972, she was the underdog, but she ended up winning in a landslide and became the first Black woman ever elected to public office from Dallas.

1. Dianne Feinstein (June 22, 1933 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 87 years, 7 months, 16 days
Chamber: Senate
State: California
Political Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: November 4, 1992

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Dianne Feinstein very recently celebrated her 87 th birthday, making her the oldest women currently in Congress. Feinstein has been the a California Senator since 1992 and has worked from the government since the 1960s. Before being elected to the Senate, Feinstein was Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 – 1988. She was the first woman to ever hold that position. During the 1992 special election, Feinstein was on the same ballot as Barbara Boxer. Both women became California’s first female senators.


Fact Check: Is Karen Handel Georgia’s First Female Representative?

If a conservative makes history, asked Donald Trump Jr., does she make a sound?

Celebrating Karen Handel’s win in a special House election in Georgia, Mr. Trump complained that the significance of her victory was hardly noted.

Karen Handel becomes 1st Woman Rep GA has sent to Congress. Still waiting for the glass ceiling stories, or do conservatives not get them?

&mdash Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 21, 2017

Ms. Handel defeated her Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, in the closely watched contest, the most expensive House campaign ever. The race made history in campaign finance did Ms. Handel do the same for women in Georgia politics?

It depends on what Mr. Trump meant by “Rep.” If the abbreviation stood for representative, he’s off by about 95 years.

Georgia first sent a woman, Rebecca Latimer Felton, to Congress in 1922. A political activist, writer, suffragist and the first female senator, Mrs. Felton was appointed to fill a vacancy by a governor who supported the 19th Amendment. She served just a day, giving her the distinction of also having the shortest term of service.

According to her Senate biography, she concluded her only Senate speech with a nod to gender equality. “When the women of the country come in and sit with you,” she said, “you will get ability, you will get integrity of purpose, you will get exalted patriotism, and you will get unstinted usefulness.”

Since Mrs. Felton’s term, Georgia’s congressional delegation, like the rest of Congress, has been overwhelmingly male. Just five women from Georgia have served in Congress since then. The state’s first female representative, Florence Reville Gibbs, was voted into office in 1940, through a special election called after the death of her husband. She was followed by Helen Douglas Mankin in 1946, Iris Faircloth Blitch in 1955, Cynthia McKinney in 1993 and Denise Majette in 2003.

If Mr. Trump meant Republican, he would have been more accurate. All of Ms. Handel’s female predecessors in Georgia have been Democrats, and no woman currently represents the state. But this definitive moment for Republican women hasn’t gone unnoticed. National and local news outlets alike have written about Ms. Handel making history.

Ms. Handel’s victory merits celebration for bringing the number of women in Congress to the highest ever at 105, said Kelly Dittmar of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. But that increase was marginal, from 19.4 percent to 19.6 percent, she added, and bears a reminder that women are still underrepresented in politics.

The congresswoman proudly noted the historical import herself in her victory speech, as The Times reported.

“I am also very well aware of another obligation that comes with tonight’s decision by the voters, the obligation of being the first Republican woman elected to Congress from the great state of Georgia,” she said Tuesday night. “Tonight reminds us — it reminds me — that anything is possible.”

A century earlier, in 1917, America’s first female representative was sworn in: Jeannette Rankin of Montana, also a Republican.

“I may be the first woman member of Congress,” Ms. Rankin said upon her election. “But I won’t be the last.”


History of Colorado’s Elected Women

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First Woman Representative - History

While the world watched during the Impeachment hearings of President Richard Nixon, Barbara Jordan boldly took center stage. As a lawyer, a congresswoman, and a scholar, Jordan used her public speaking skills to fight for civil and human rights. In 1972, Jordan became the first African American woman to be elected to Congress from the South since 1898.

Barbara Charline Jordan was born on February 21, 1936 in Houston, Texas. The daughter of Arlyne and Benjamin Jordan, Barbara was the youngest of three children. Her mother was a public speaker and her father was the pastor of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. After attending Roberson Elementary School, Jordan attended Phyllis Wheatley High School and graduated in 1952. Upon graduation, she went to Texas Southern University and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1956. She then went to Boston University to get her law degree. Once she passed her law exam called the “bar,” Jordan began practicing law in Houston Texas. For her first job, she worked as an administrative assistant for a county judge. That same year, she began working on the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign.

In 1962, Jordan began her political career and ran for the Texas House of Representatives. Although she lost the race, she ran again in 1964. However, she lost again so in 1966 she decided to run for the Texas Senate instead. This time, Jordan won and became the first African American woman ever elected to that office. Also, she was the first African American state senator in United States since 1883. During her time as senator she worked to establish a minimum wage law, antidiscrimination statements in business contracts, and a Fair Employment Practices Commission. She was elected president of the Texas Senate on March 28, 1972, making her the first black woman in America to oversee a legislative body. During this time, Jordan was also running for Congress. Winning by 81 percent, she became the first African American in the 20 th century to be elected to Congress from the South.

While in Washington, D.C. as a congresswoman, Jordan served on various committees. Starting in 1975, she served three terms on the Judiciary Committee. Jordan quickly became a prominent voice on the Judiciary Committee. As the committee began the impeachment process against President Richard M. Nixon, Jordan gave the opening remarks. In her speech, she stated her reasons for supporting President Nixon’s impeachment and her faith in the Constitution. After her powerful speech, many people surrounded her car, and sent her letters and phone calls to congratulate her. President Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974. Following this, Jordan continued to advocate for civil rights protections for many Americans. In 1975, she sponsored legislation that expanded the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to include Latinx, Native, and Asian Americans. A year later, she became the first African American and the first woman keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

Jordan continued her political career and began heavily campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate James Earl (Jimmy) Carter. In 1977, Carter won the presidential election against President Gerald Ford. During his term, President Carter interviewed Jordan for the Cabinet position of U.S. Attorney General, but he did not offer her the position. The next year, Jordan decided not to run for re-election to Congress. Instead, Jordan became a professor at the University of Texas in Austin as the Lyndon Johnson Chair in National Policy. She taught in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University until the early 1990s. In 1992, she delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention from a wheelchair because she suffered from multiple sclerosis. Two years later, President Bill Clinton selected her to lead the Commission on Immigration Reform. However, Jordan’s health continued to decline. Although she was very quiet about her private life, many historians suggest that her caregiver Nancy Earl, was also her life partner. Earl was an educational psychologist that traveled with Jordan for nearly thirty years. On January 17, 1996, Barbara Jordan died from pneumonia, a complication of leukemia.

Clines, Francis X. “Barbara Jordan Dies at 59 Her Voice Stirred the Nation.” The New York Times. The New York Times, January 18, 1996. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/01/18/us/barbara-jordan-dies-at-59-her-voice-stirred-the-nation.html.

National Archives Foundation. “Barbara Jordan.” Accessed November 5, 2019. https://www.archivesfoundation.org/amendingamerica/barbara-jordan/.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. “About Barbara Jordan.” December 18, 2013. https://www.kff.org/about-barbara-jordan/.

US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. “JORDAN, Barbara Charline.” Accessed November 5, 2019. https://history.house.gov/People/Detail/16031.

MLA - Alexander, Kerri Lee. "Barbara Jordan." National Women's History Museum. National Women's History Museum, 2019. Date accessed.


POLITICO

She becomes the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the country.

Sarah McBride campaigns at the Claymont Boys & Girls Club in Claymont, Del. | AP Photo/Jason Minto

Updated: 11/03/2020 11:38 PM EST

Sarah McBride, national press secretary at the Human Rights Campaign, has become the first openly transgender state senator in U.S. history after winning a state Senate seat in Delaware on Tuesday night.

McBride’s win, which was reported by The New York Times, means she will be the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the country. She is part of a surge of transgender candidates running for office this election cycle.

McBride, who made history at the Democratic National Convention in 2016 when she became the first openly transgender person to speak at any major-party convention in the U.S., was expected to win the heavily Democratic 1st state Senate District, which includes parts of Wilmington.

There are currently four openly transgender U.S. state legislators: Virginia state Del. Danica Roem Colorado state Rep. Brianna Titone and New Hampshire state Reps. Lisa Bunker and Gerri Cannon.

The Human Rights Campaign‘s president, Alphonso David, lauded McBride‘s victory in a statement on Tuesday night.

“Tonight, Sarah made history not just for herself but for our entire community,” David said. “She gives a voice to the marginalized as a representative and an advocate. This victory, the first of what I expect to be many in her career, shows that any person can achieve their dream, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.“


Cori Bush Makes History Being Elected As Missouri's First Black Congresswoman

Cori Bush made history Tuesday night. She won Missouri’s 1st Congressional District seat, making her the first Black woman elected to represent the state in Congress.

The progressive congresswoman-elect was expected to win the general election in the overwhelmingly Democratic district after she unseated Rep. William Lacy Clay in a stunning primary upset in August. She comfortably defeated her Republican opponent, Anthony Rogers, on Tuesday.

Bush ― a Ferguson activist, nurse and ordained minister ― celebrated her historic win by posting a photo on Twitter of herself standing in front of a portrait of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress.

During her victory speech on Tuesday night, Bush addressed the St. Louis community and said, “This is our moment.”

“St. Louis, my city . my home . my community, we have been surviving and grinding . just scraping by for so long, and now this is our moment to finally, finally start living,” she said.

“As the first Black woman, and also the first nurse and single mother to have the honor to represent Missouri in the United States Congress, let me say this . to the Black women, the Black girls, the nurses, the essential workers, the single mothers . this is our moment,” she later said.

Bush then discussed the Ferguson uprisings and the organizing that took place in the streets of the St. Louis area in 2014, after white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Black teenager Michael Brown.

“In the tradition of every one of our ancestors who fought for a better world, we organized for Michael Brown Jr.,” Bush said Tuesday. “We organized for more than 400 days, side-by-side, locked arm-in-arm . St. Louis strong.”

Bush was notably on the frontlines of the Ferguson protests against police violence serving both in a medical capacity as a nurse and as a demonstrator.

Kayla Reed, activist and executive director of racial justice organization Action St. Louis, told HuffPost in August that one of her first memories of Bush was in 2014 seeing her protest in the streets wearing scrubs.

“If someone was, like, ‘Who is a Ferguson protester?’ Cori Bush’s name is on that list,” Reed said.

Missouri state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge (D), a Ferguson activist, likened Bush to the late civil rights icon John Lewis: “Somebody who understands the need of protests, the need of civil disobedience, and will not ever talk down to a movement or say they need to strategize different,” he said.

Bush, who was a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2016, previously ran against Clay for a House seat in 2018. She lost in the primary race by just under 20 percentage points. Her journey running for office two years ago was notably documented in the award-winning documentary, “Knock Down the House.”

Mike Brown was murdered 2,278 days ago. We took to the streets for more than 400 days in protest. Today, we take this fight for Black Lives from the streets of Ferguson to the halls of Congress. We will get justice.

&mdash Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 4, 2020

On Tuesday, Bush posted a Twitter thread highlighting the significance of her historic win and the organizing that took place after Brown’s death.

“Mike Brown was murdered 2,278 days ago,” she wrote. “We took to the streets for more than 400 days in protest. Today, we take this fight for Black Lives from the streets of Ferguson to the halls of Congress. We will get justice.”

Bush also wrote in another tweet that she intends to be the champion for working-class people and to represent for nurses who have, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, “risked their lives to save others.”

“I am the first nurse going to Congress from Missouri ― in the middle of a pandemic,” she wrote.

“Working class people need representatives who look like them and who have experienced their struggles. I am that champion,” she added.

I am the first nurse going to Congress from Missouri—in the middle of a pandemic. Nurses all across the country have risked their lives to save others. Working class people need representatives who look like them and who have experienced their struggles. I am that champion.

&mdash Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 4, 2020

Women in the House get a restroom

Women finally have a seat in the House of Representatives. Four seats, in fact. And two sinks.

Last week, as debt-ceiling talks were building to a fever pitch, Room H211 in the U.S. Capitol quietly opened its door to the 76 female members of the House, giving them their own restroom near the Speaker’s Lobby. Women in the Senate have had their own restroom off the Senate floor since 1993.

If the restroom’s opening was subdued, some of the reaction wasn’t.

A pleased Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) invited a reporter inside “to peek, not pee.”

Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) was moved to tweet to her 2,692 followers, “Love the new Ladies room off the floor of the House. Three cheers to @SpeakerBoehner.”

From left, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., center, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., listen during a news conference on health care reform. (Evan Vucci/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

(Another of her tweets that same day was “#GOP ‘cut, cap and balance’ is irresponsible plan 2 end #Medicare & protect oil companies & millionaires,” so the bipartisan glow didn’t last for long.)

Edwards, who represents Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, which includes large portions of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, wasn’t alone in taking to the ether with her enthusiasm. Two days later, Del. Donna M. Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) tweeted, “The first woman came to Congress in 1917. We are finally getting a ladies rest room near the floor of the House.”

That’s the kind of comfort male members of the House have long enjoyed. Female members, however, had to trek out of chambers and buck the tourists in Statuary Hall to get to what is now called the Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Reading Room for relief.

Room H211 is located in a bustling mahogany-trimmed hallway adjacent to the elegant, Victorian-embellished Speaker’s Lobby on the Democratic side of the chamber. The entry has the dignified exterior of other Capitol offices: mahogany double doors and door casing, a small brass plaque overhead showing the room number and, stenciled in gold paint on a wooden door plaque, “Members Only.” The door, guarded by a Capitol police officer, swishes open, offering a glimpse of the anteroom, a louvered mahogany door between it and the main bathroom.

If it looks like an office, of course, it’s because it was one. Until House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) ordered plumbing installed on this side of the building, H211 was the House parliamentarian’s office. The parliamentarian was moved into the former speaker’s ceremonial office, and the speaker nudged the Appropriations Committee out of its historic digs and moved his ceremonial office there.

One Democratic Hill staffer grumbled that the issue of the long-standing need for a nearby ladies’ room was looked at in 2007, but “with the nature of a historic building and adding plumbing, it was just too expensive.” Not that the women don’t deserve it, the staffer hastily added.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) pulled together a committee to advise the Architect of the Capitol on what the women of the House needed in a restroom. In addition to the obvious, one issue was a baby-changing table. “We thought, with a group of younger women entering Congress, there might be a need someday,” she said.

Inside, the space still looks and feels somewhat like a historic office in the Capitol. “I was very impressed by the way [the workmen] were able to preserve the tiles on the floor,” Capito said. Colorful clay tiles with rich geometric and baroque patterns, from the 1850s Minton workshop in England, are found throughout the mid-19th-century additions to the Capitol, although some of them are reproductions manufactured in the mid-1980s.

The room also has its original chandelier and fireplace. Heavy mahogany doors and dividers mark the toilet stalls.

Edwards said she likes that the room has “lots of light and a nice big mirror.” And there’s an alcove under one of the windows that would be nice for a seat, she said.

But are the fixtures super-modern, with motion sensors and such? The congresswoman looked confused for a second, then said with a laugh, “you flush, just the way you do at home.”

But the big question remains: Does the women’s restroom have an attendant the way the men’s room does? The answer, from Capito: Not in this one the women’s attendant is in the Reading Room bathroom — “and does a wonderful job of keeping us on schedule, telling us when votes are coming up.”

But maybe that’s not the big question. And maybe the question of comfort has been answered. Said Edwards, “Before this was here, I would have had to sit [in the chamber] between votes. I didn’t have the five minutes to get [to the Reading Room] and then the five minutes to get back. I would have missed a vote.”

It has taken the restroom less than two weeks to enter into congressional culture. As one staffer said, “They now call this [area] the ‘Speaker’s Lobby, women’s bathroom side.’ ”


Jeannette Rankin: The woman who voted to give women the right to vote

Jeannette Rankin, oil on canvas, Sharon Sprung, 2004. (Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives)

2017 marks the centennial of the swearing-in of the first woman to become a member of the U.S. Congress, Jeannette Rankin (R-Montana).

A pacifist and suffragist, Rankin was elected to Congress four years before the 19th Amendment gave women nationwide the right to vote. In 1914, her home state of Montana passed a law granting suffrage to women in that state. In fact, 15 states allowed women to vote before the 19th Amendment’s ratification in 1920.

Before running for Congress, Rankin promoted suffrage in many states with the New York Women’s Suffrage Party and the National American Woman Suffrage Association in the 1910s. She was also heavily involved in the campaign for suffrage in Montana.

In 1916 she decided to try to continue that work in Congress. Running as a Republican, Rankin campaigned for one of two at-large seats from Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives. She came in second place, thus securing one of the seats.

Credentials of Jeannette Rankin, December 4, 1916. (Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives)

Rankin was sworn into office in the 65th Congress on April 2, 1917. When Rankin arrived at the House that day, she presented her credential. This is the document that serves as evidence that a person was duly elected by the people of a state. It is usually signed by the governor and the secretary of state, as hers is.

On her first day, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war against Germany. He cited Germany’s resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare and Germany’s attempts to recruit Mexico as an ally against the U.S.

Rankin found herself in a very tough position. She had long advocated for pacifism, and her inclination was to vote against war. But many of her suffragist supporters were concerned that if the only woman in Congress voted against war, it would damage the cause of woman suffrage by making women look weak.

Regardless, she cast her vote against the declaration of war, as did 49 other members. As a result, many suffragists pulled their support from her, although she continued to advocate in the House for suffrage.

In 1918 the House voted on a constitutional amendment for woman suffrage. Although that resolution failed, Rankin later said that she was “the only woman who ever voted to give women the right to vote.”

Tally sheet of the vote in the House of Representatives for a declaration of war against Japan, December 8, 1941. (Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives)

She decided not to run for the House again after Montana redistricted and she felt she couldn’t win. She ran for the Senate instead, but lost in the Republican primary. She then mounted a third-party candidacy, but came up short again, and left Congress.

Her vote against war in 1917 had doomed her reelection bid, and for most of the next 21 years she worked on peace issues. However, she grew frustrated with the ineffectiveness of nongovernmental organizations, and she decided to try again from inside Congress. Isolationist sentiment was also growing strong in America in the 1930s, and her run for the House again in 1940 mostly centered on a platform of pacifism.

In 1940 Rankin was reelected. On December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, she again was called upon to vote on war. Again, she voted against war—but this time she was the only person in Congress to do so.

She was ignored and ineffective for the rest of her term, and she chose not to run again. She continued, however, to advocate pacifism, including speaking out against the Vietnam War.

Jeannette Rankin, the first woman in Congress, had two controversial terms, and two career-ending controversial votes on war. But in an interview the year before her death in 1973, she said that if she had her life to relive, she’d do it all again, “But this time I’d be nastier.”

You can see a special document exhibit on Jeannette Rankin in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, from January 26 though April 3, 2017.