First Muslim women elected to Congress

Ilhan Omar

Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, became the first Muslim woman elected to Congress on Tuesday.

Tlaib actually campaigned with Omar ahead of the latter's primary race earlier this year. After moving to the U.S.at the of 12 as a Somali refugee, Omar told TIME she grew a love for politics that was inspired by her grandfather, who loved the idea of democratic governments.

Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won a House seat in a heavily-Democratic district in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where she will succeed Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim elected to Congress.

Omar, who arrived in the USA at the age of 14 after fleeing civil war in Somalia and lived in Kenya's Dadaab camp, campaigned on a platform which called for universal healthcare and tuition-free colleges.

On January 1, 2009, Rashida became the first Muslim American woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature, and the second Muslim woman in history to be elected to any USA state legislature.

She chose to run for Congress after Ellison, who is also black, made a decision to give up his seat after 12 years in Congress to run for attorney general of Minnesota.

Like Omar, Tlaib championed progressive policies, including a Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage and immigration reform.

What is already the most diverse Congress ever could become even more so after Tuesday's elections and will include several trailblazers.

And regardless of who wins in Arizona's competitive Senate race, the state will elect either Republican Martha McSally or Democrat Kyrsten Sinema as the state's first woman to serve in the chamber.

Ocasio-Cortez easily won election in her district which spans parts of the NY boroughs of Queens and the Bronx. She could not speak English and only learnt by watching television.

Tlaib's win comes after the 2016 election of Trump spurred a record number of women to put their names on the ballot. "And that if you just believe, believe in the possibility of someone like me".

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