The 116th Congress began on Jan. 3 this year with a multitude of new members, both Democratic and Republican. 10 new senators and 101 new representatives were elected this year, leading to what many people claim is the most diverse set of politicians elected to the House. More than 60 percent of the seats that Democrats flipped were won by women. 67 Democrats and 44 Republicans were sworn in to Congress at the beginning of this year, some of which are already making waves. Notable members from each party include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Andy Kim from the Democratic Party and Anthony Gonzalez, Marsha Blackburn, and Kevin Cramer from the Republican Party.
Alexandria OcasioCortez was elected as a Democratic representative of New York’s 14th district and holds the unique honor of being the youngest ever member of Congress. She ran her campaign on the idea of creating an America that works for everyone, not just a select wealthy few. Her main stances included Medicare for all, housing as a human right, immigration justice, and reforming criminal justice.
Rashida Tlaib was elected as a Democratic representative of Michigan’s 13th district and is the first Palestinian-American women in Congress, as well one of the first two Muslim women in Congress. Previously serving as a State Representative in Lansing, Tlaib ran for Congress to fight for others and to encourage people to do more for communities. Her priorities include standing up for unions, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, preventing cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and making public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition-free.
Andy Kim was elected as a Democratic representative of New Jersey’s 3rd district and is the first Democrat of Korean descent in Congress. Kim campaigned on the vision of an America “Of, By, and For the People.” His pledges include lowering healthcare and drug costs, expanding care for veterans, speaking out about climate change, and fighting against corruption in government.
Anthony Gonzalez was elected as a Republican representative of Ohio’s 16th district and took an open seat in the House. Previously, he was a wide receiver for the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indianapolis Colts. He ran his campaign on the main idea of protecting the American people. Gonzalez’s main issues that he plans to push are improving the education system and creating a pro-worker and pro-business environment in today’s economic system.
Marsha Blackburn was elected as a US Senator from Tennessee and was a US House Representative for Tennessee’s 7th district previously. She defeated Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen in November’s election to secure her spot in the Senate. Blackburn said she ran for the U.S. Senate “to straighten up the mess in Washington and remind the Senate that it serves you.” During her term in Congress, she wants to create jobs, support the troops, and raise support for the border wall.
Kevin Cramer was elected as a US Senator for North Dakota and was a US House Representative from 2013 until 2019. He defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp by 11 percent in November’s election. His main issues include strengthening border security, protecting the Second Amendment, supporting the military and its veterans, and protecting and maintaining Social Security and Medicare.