5 inspiring election victories

(NEW YORK) — The state and local elections on Tuesday brought in a new, diverse wave of politicians, many of whom have no prior government experience.

Here’s a rundown of some of the interesting stories of the big winners.

Wilmot Collins, the first black mayor of Helena, Montana

When he arrived in Helena, Montana in February 1994, Collins was wearing layer upon layer of clothing, anticipating the freezing cold temperatures. What he was a little less prepared for was being the only black man in a majority-white community. A Liberian refugee, Collins noticed no one else in this rocky city looked like him.

Read more about his story here.

Ravi Bhalla, the first Sikh mayor in New Jersey

“I think this victory represents the American dream,” Bhalla said. “My father came here as an immigrant from India with no money in his pocket. He lived in a trailer park, but he had faith in this country and faith in that there is no conflict between religion and succeeding in this country. So I think this election in that way represents that, in America, if you work hard and you’re qualified — the sky is the limit and you can do anything.”

Read more about his story here.

Ashley Bennett, a novice who ran and won against a man who mocked the Women’s March

Bennett never thought that she would run for political office, and when her first bid led to her victory against a male New Jersey county official who had mocked the Women’s March, she said, “I was shocked.”

Read more about her story here.

Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person elected to serve in a U.S. state legislature

The former journalist defeated 13-term Virginia House Delegate Bob Marshall, who was the author of Virginia’s “bathroom bill” that would have restricted the bathrooms that transgender people could use.

Read more about her story here.

Chris Hurst, who won on a pro-gun control platform after his girlfriend was shot dead on live TV

Hurst decided to run for office after his girlfriend, reporter Alison Parker, was fatally shot along with her cameraman by a former station employee in August 2015.

Read more about his story here.

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