Celebrating Diversity on The Hill

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The 117th Congress will eventually give way to a new makeup of lawmakers, when the 2022 mid-term elections take place.

If history is any guide, its makeup will continue to become increasingly diverse.

Nearly a quarter of the 535 members of the current Congress are racial or ethnic minorities, making it the most diverse in the political body’s history.

For the past decade, a record number of minorities has been elected in each succeeding election.

More than 120 lawmakers identify as Black, Hispanic, Native American or Asian/Pacific islander, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/01/28/racial-ethnic-diversity-increases-yet-again-with-the-117th-congress/

That’s nearly double the number of minority members who were in Congress 20 years ago.

Among the many current members:

Rep. Alma Adams

The North Carolina lawmaker has been a tireless advocate for people from a wide range of backgrounds. During her four terms in Congress she’s pressed for legislation to improve funding for historically black colleges and universities. The FUTURE Act that she sponsored provides more than $250 million a year to minority-serving minorities. Adams was the 100th woman elected to the 113th Congress after a special election in 2014. She’s also well-known on Capitol Hill for her colorful collection of hats.

Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alma_Adams_official_portrait.jpg

Rep. Pete Aguilar  

He’s a fourth generation Mexican-American, who values hard work, having started his first job at the age of 12. He prides himself on being a voice for middle-class families. And he’s been a vocal advocate of so-called “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants most of whom were children when they came to the U.S. Aguilar. Four generations of his family have lived in San Bernardino County, California, east of Los Angeles. Aguilar is an up-and-coming Democratic lawmaker and is the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

Photo credit: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Pete_Aguilar

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Her life began filled with challenges in her native Wisconsin. Her mother dealt with mental illness and drug abuse issues, which led Baldwin to be raised by her grandparents. A childhood illness left her in the hospital for several months and her grandparents were unable to secure health insurance for her, due to a preexisting condition. Her experience led her to become a major healthcare advocate in Congress, working to get people the health insurance they need. She is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Photo credit: https://www.baldwin.senate.gov

Rep. Ruben Gallego

The Arizona lawmaker is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq. The son of Latino immigrants has been a passionate advocate for veterans as well as minority voters. The Phoenix area that he represents is a majority-Latino district. He was raised by his single mother and was the first in his family to attend college. He graduated from Harvard and eventually served in the Arizona state legislature, before being elected to Congress in the 2014 election.

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/RepRubenGallego

Senator Ben Ray Lujan

He grew up in New Mexico and is proud of his roots. He is one of the first Latino senators to represent his state. Lujan says it’s important that he and other Latino members of Congress work on behalf of Latinos, who make up one of the fastest growing parts of the U.S. population. Lujan is an advocate of working men and women, whether they are hourly laborers or small business owners.

Photo credit: https://www.lujan.senate.gov

Senator Catherine CortezMasto

She is the first Latina elected to the Senate from Nevada and remains the only Latina in the upper chamber. She’s the daughter of parents who are Mexican and Italian. Proud of her heritage, she organizes meetings with young Latina and Latino staffers on Capitol Hill. She says the experience of dealing with the challenges of the pandemic has only made her more determined to help Latinas narrow the wage gap they now experience.

Photo credit: https://www.cortezmasto.senate.gov

Rep. Stephanie Murphy

The Florida lawmaker is the first Vietnamese-American woman ever elected to Congress. He family came to the United States from communist Vietnam, after being rescued at sea by the U.S. Navy. She has been a strong advocate for military men and women, owing in part to her personal history. After the 9/11 terror attacks she left a job in the private sector and went on to work at the Pentagon as a national security specialist in the administration of President George W. Bush. She was elected to Congress in 2016.

Photo credit: https://murphy.house.gov

Rep. Joe Neguse

The Colorado lawmaker is 37 years old and one of the younger and newer members of Congress. He’s the first African-American to represent Colorado in Congress. Neguse is passionate about immigration reform, often citing his own family experience. His parents came to the U.S. in the 1980s, after fleeing the war-torn, East African country of Eritrea. He said their experience motivated him to give back to this country through public service.

Photo credit: https://neguse.house.gov

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