For some of us, who went to bed late and woke up at 5 a.m. to see the results of the U.S. presidential elections live real time from Aarhus, Denmark, there was a sense of relief that President Barack Obama had been re-elected. But, as I watched the main event, I forgot to pay attention to the changes in the House and Senate.
So, what really happened with the United States Congress? The answer: several firsts for women across the country. Here' are the top three:
1. First Hindu Congresswoman: Tulsi Gabbard (House, D-HI)
Tulsi Gabbard will represent Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district. According to Jezebel, Hawaii has been declared a "FOX News Disaster Zone." Born to a a Catholic father and a Hindu mother, she moved to Hawaii when she was 2, and was elected to the Hawaii state legislature at age 21— according to Religion News. Tulsi told the New York Daily, "[I] never felt discriminated against. I never really gave it a second thought growing up that any other reality existed, or that it was not the same everywhere."
2. New Hampshire Elects All Women
On Tuesday, New Hampshire also became the first state ever to have women in all of its top elected positions. This includes a woman governor, two U.S. senators, and two women in the House. Maggie Hasan (D) elected governor, and she will be the only female governor in 2012
3. First Openly Gay Congresswoman: Tammy Baldwin (Senate, D-Wis.)
Tammy Baldwin is the first openly gay congressperson, as well as the first Wisconsin woman elected to the U.S. Senate. As she is quoted by CNN she ran, "to make a difference" and not to make history. Still, she hopes to see the Senate as a place more reflective of the United States and the "life experience" of women.
It remains to be seen what all these women will be able to accomplish in the next few years. I am thinking it will be something grand.