Thanks to fed up women and voters who took action, the Nov. 7 primary election was a night of firsts. The change we are witnessing is groundbreaking and we must sustain this shift in political power and build on it.
One hundred and twenty three women were elected to the United States House of Representatives, 12 women were elected to the U.S. Senate, 9 women were elected to serve as governor and out of a grand total of 123 women elected, 42 of them were women of color.
And of those 43, at least three are LGBTQ. These numbers are still rising as results are still being calculated.
To put these numbers in perspective, one out of five congress members are women.
Prior to this election, 84 women served in the House out of 435 members, and in the Senate, 23 women served in the Senate out of 100. Six women served as governors, out of 50.
All of these women in positions of political power represent a beacon of hope during a polarized and dangerous political climate. Election by election, women, women of color and people of color must fill offices of power and influence until we are accurately and fairly represented in our government.
Let’s rewind to how many women won nominations for state legislatures.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the amount of women who decided to run for office was also a record high number, “more than any other election in U.S. history.”
According to the Center for American Women and Politics 3,379 women won nomination for state legislatures across the country, breaking 2016’s record of 2,649.
Two hundred and thirty five women won nominations in U.S. House races. This broke 2016’s record of 167. In addition, 22 women won major-party nominations for the U.S. Senate. The record previously stood at 18 in 2012.
The numbers are proof of change that isn’t coming in waves, but rather in tsunami proportions. However, to any young women of color looking toward a future in politics, we still need you.
Though what women have accomplished this election cycle is substantial, women are still not the majority in congress and we can not lose momentum.
Do not forget the youngest you can be to run for office, per the constitution, is 35 years old for President or Vice President. California specifically requires a candidate to be at least 18 years of age and registered to vote.
When the women elected take their well earned seats among the men who have grown comfortable there, we must not forget what it took for them to get there. It’s more than a foot in the door but there is more work to be done.
Let the storm rage on.