Women and millennials were some of the big winners in congressional and gubernatorial elections yesterday. Record numbers of both women and millennials participated at the grass roots of campaigns and added energy to the political process that has not been seen in recent elections. They organized, they knocked on doors, they canvased, and they showed up at the polls. It was exciting — no matter what side of the aisle you support.
And at least 30 women were elected to congressional seats for the first time. Similar to millennials, the newly-elected women lawmakers, display very diverse backgrounds. There are women of color, women of varying religious and cultural backgrounds, a native American woman, the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives, and at least one lesbian. In addition to these future congresswomen, women made historic strides in gaining governorships throughout the country.
In all, more than 115 women won their races out of the 276 women on ballots handed out to voters at polling stations yesterday. Ninety-five of those 115 will be seated in the House of Representatives in January 2019. Eleven of those women won seats in the Senate, and nine of them won gubernatorial races. That is a lot of woman power!
And some of these newly-elected women also are lawyers. Jennifer Wexton gained a seat in the House of Representatives in my own district in Virginia and was joined by other first-time lawyer/congresswomen in Michigan, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. They will add to the approximate 38% and 57% of the House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, who also are lawyers. And women/lawyers also were elected governors in Michigan, Maine and New Mexico.
A legal education is an excellent foundation for lawmakers. Not only do lawyers understand the legislative process, but they also are very effective advocates for the less fortunate and the wronged.
That is why women lawyers make great leaders in Congress and in Governor’s mansions and in state legislatures. Bravo to all of these women.
And bravo to the millennials, young people who have discovered that they can make a difference — and are doing it.