Yes, record numbers of women go to Congress

There is a nuclear engineer and a former flight attendant, a nurse and a former agent at the CIA. Many are mothers who work full-time, including a former health care manager from outside of Minnesota who is openly gay.

A record number of women was elected this week for Congress, which stimulated the Democratic takeover of the House. But more than the number, the lasting significance of 2018 can be that so many women did not climb conventional ladders to come to Capitol Hill.

While some did hold political imperial offices, many others took non-traditional paths to power, suggesting that the need for female candidates to pay their dues in party politics may have gone the way to pantsuits and pearls.

"It's a sea change," said Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily's List, the democratically-leaning group that supports women in politics. The varied background stories and biographies of the Class of 2018 will encourage even more women to run to the office, she said, an impact that will resound "in the next decade or decades".

Jody Rushton, president of the National Federation of Republican Women, agreed. "It is now a much broader pipeline," she said.

Some races have yet to be mentioned. But as of Friday, more than 100 women were declared winners in the 435 House races – almost three dozen more than in the current Congress. Almost all newcomers are Democrats. The number of Republican women will decrease when the new Congress takes place in January, possibly decreasing to only 13.

Although the make-up of the House will remain overwhelmingly masculine, the three dozen newly elected ladies easily surpass the 24 female newcomers who were elected in 1992, the last & # 39; Year of Woman & # 39 ;, at the end of the George HW Bush administration.

But although only about 10 percent of the house was a woman after the 1992 elections, Congress, sitting in January, will be almost a quarter of a woman.

When television camera's room in the next state of the Union address pan, the sea of ​​men in dark colors and ties will be divided by more female legislators, including Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee Tuesday elected from central Minneapolis who first will be a member of the congress to wear a hijab.

There will also be many more women of color, including Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, who became the first black representative of Connecticut on Tuesday.

The political environment in the aftermath of the # MeToo movement has "opened up opportunities for different types of women to excel," said Joel Benenson, a democratic strategist working for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

One of the newcomers is Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA agent who Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), A member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, defeated.

Spanberger is a mother who started a Girl Scout gang, as well as an intelligence officer who speaks four languages ​​and once recruited spies. She said that voters in her district in Central Virginia appreciate candidates who do not fit into the standard form of a politician.

"We break out the typical," Spanberger said. "You can tell a child that it can be anything they want, but until they see a broad spectrum of the country – someone who looks like them – they feel a step apart."

Spanberger said she would work to make health care more affordable and restore the political divisions of the country. "What motivated me to flee was how disunity had become political rhetoric," she said.

It was a very common message among other democratic women who rejected Republican established players, including another CIA veteran, former analyst in the Middle East, Elissa Slotkin. Slotkin unleashed Rep. Mike Bishop in a district in central Michigan that President Trump easily won in 2016.

"People can disagree and still have respect for each other," Slotkin said.

In addition to powering the democratic takeover of the House, female candidates also demanded four governors for Democrats, overturning the top office in Michigan, Kansas, Maine and New Mexico.

Republican women won gubernatorial races in Alabama, Iowa and South Dakota and placed a few other milestones. Rep. Marsha Blackburn will move from the house to the senate and become the first female senator from Tennessee. And Young Kim, who had served in the California Statehouse, seemed on the way to victory in a close House contest and on the doorstep to become the first Korean American woman in Congress.

Rushton said the Republicans are actively recruiting and training women for their office. There is value, she said, in "step by step" progress. She said that mass Democratic women with no political background went to the office this year and many failed because voters wanted people with some experience.

But many democratic women won, supported by anger and frustration among female voters about the direction of the country under Trump.

In California, Katie Hill, which had a non-profit organization that provided services to homeless people, defeated a Republican incumbent, Rep. Steve Knight, in the San Fernando Valley.

In Georgia, former flight attendant Lucy McBath also defeated a seated, Rep. Karen Handel (R). McBath, whose 17-year-old son was shot deadly by a white man who complained that he was playing music too hard, ran as a defender of weapons.

And in Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman to be elected to Congress from that state, and defeated Rep. Michael E. Capuano (R), a seated 10-plus.

"None of us ran to write history, we were running to change something … and there is change on the way," Pressley told her supporters on the election night.

"Can a congresswoman wear her hair in plaits? Rock a black leather jacket?" Asked Pressley. And the crowd roared.