The Young Women of the 2012 Election
This election, while most Americans will be wrapped up with the fate of the presidential contest, Hawaii, Utah, and New York will likely elect some of the newest women to Congress. But what sets these women apart isn’t just their gender—it’s their age. While women retain only 16.8% of the seats in Congress, women under the age of 40 represent less than 1%. These newly elected Congresswomen will help double the number of young women currently serving in the United States Congress.
Tulsi Gabbard, Mia Love, and Grace Meng each possess unique backgrounds, diversity of experiences, and ideological perspectives. In additional to their youth, they each will embody “firsts” for the Congress: Gabbard will be the first Hindu American, Love the first Haitian American Republican woman, and Meng the first Asian American to represent New York State.
Here are a few more fun facts about these future Congresswomen –
Tulsi Gabbard, 31, is running for the 2nd Congressional district in Hawaii. She has completed two tours to the Middle East as a member of the Army National Guard. She was first elected to the Hawaii state legislature at the ripe old age of 21; Gabbard most recently served on the Honolulu City Council. For Gabbard’s seat, the real election happened during the primary where she overcame a 60-point deficit to win the Democratic primary.
Mia Love, 36, is running for the 4th Congressional district in Utah. She is currently the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah. Love grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where her parents immigrated after leaving Haiti in 1973. Love first entered elected office on the Saratoga City Council in 2003. She is in the midst of a neck and neck general election against Congressman Jim Matheson. Love’s background and abilities have propelled her to the national spotlight – and a top priority pick up for the Republicans.
Grace Meng, 37, is running for New York’s 6th Congressional district. Meng is currently a New York state Assemblywoman, a seat she has held since 2009. Meng has been recognized as an up and comer in New York state politics and has been described as a “bridge-builder” for her work in the state legislature. Meng was recently endorsed by powerhouse Mayor Michael Bloomberg – a huge nod of support from the city’s top politician.
So as you watch the results roll in on November 6th, don’t forget these awesome women to watch. While the work to increase the number of women serving in political office continues, these trailblazing women should be noted as true heroes. Not only because they dared to run for the highest elected body at a young age, but because they are role models to girls everywhere showing them what they can become.
Images from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATulsi_pic.jpg, http://riehlworldview.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Mia-Love.jpg, http://www.cityandstateny.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/gmeng.jpg