The 2018 midterm elections brought many firsts. It brought a series of history-making votes that marked a major accomplishment for women, the LGBT+ community and other minority candidates.
The midterm election results brought two Native American women to Congress, along with a Somali refugee and the first openly gay man elected governor.
Democrats Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first Native American women to be elected to Congress. Davids also became the first openly LGBT+ United States Representative from Kansas. Colorado’s Governor-elect, Jared Polis, became the first openly gay governor in the U.S.
There were also a record number of women who won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the Congressional Research Service, the number of women elected this cycle surpassed the previous record of 85 female representatives.
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Omar was also the first Somali American elected to Congress. Tennessee made history with Republican Marsha Blackburn, who will become their first female senator.
Members of Black Student Association, Black Collegiate Women and Native American Association at North Dakota State spoke about the importance of having representation and newly elected people/women of color/diversity in Congress.
“Congress should reflect the population … (however) history isn’t very easily changed, so just because there are more women or people of color doesn’t mean their voices will be heard,” Hodan Mohamud, a junior at North Dakota State, said. “The fact you made it doesn’t mean your battle is over. There will be people who have been there longer and will always have more of a voice. Unfortunately, you have to earn your right to speak.”
“Representation is important because not everyone views the world in the same way,” – Tyrel Iron Eyes
“They are making the laws. I don’t understand how one demographic should make laws for everybody,” Kettie Tesfa, a junior at NDSU majoring in sociology, said.
Tyrel Iron Eyes, president of the Native American Association, said he was surprised with the results in Kansas.
“Representation is important because not everyone views the world in the same way,” Iron Eyes said. “Having diverse voices, backgrounds and experiences better represent the country as a whole. It represents my voice and my family’s voices so much better than white, straight, old males who have had the job for years.“