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Photo via InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr Catherine Cortez Masto / Facebook | Gage Skidmore / Flickr | Lorie Shaull / Flickr | Pramila Jayapal / Facebook | Kate Brown / Facebook

Election marks historic wins for LGBTQ, Latino and black officials

A few steps forward were made.


Mehak Anwar


Posted on Nov 9, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 3:04 pm CDT

Last night, Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States of America after Hillary Clinton lost in several key swing states. In addition to a GOP presidential win, the House and Senate have gone red, signaling complete Republican control of government.

Though Hillary Clinton supporters, Democrats, and progressives are mourning the loss of their party and candidate, many are also fearing a dramatic transformation of American ideals that would come at the expense of many. This morning, the American Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement:

“President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation’s highest office, we urge you to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made. These include your plan to amass a deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants; ban the entry of Muslims into our country and aggressively surveil them; punish women for accessing abortion; reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture; and change our nation’s libel laws and restrict freedom of expression.”

Despite the Republican domination, there are some glimmers of hope: Progressive women, LGBTQ individuals, and people of color were elected to various positions at the state and federal levels, including:

Catherine Cortez Masto

Catherine Cortez won the Nevada state Senate race against her opponent, Joe Heck, becoming the first Latina senator. She was the previous Nevada attorney general, as well as the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant. Raising the minimum wage and comprehensive immigration reform have been centerpieces of her campaign.

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris, whose mother emigrated from India and father emigrated from Jamaica, will become one of the first two Indian-American women ever elected to Congress, and the first to be elected to the Senate. She will also be the first black senator to serve from California, and told Americans this morning, “Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are.”   

Tim Scott

Republican Tim Scott’s South Carolina win was one of the most historic in the election, as he will be the first black senator in the South since Reconstruction

Ilhan Omar

Former refugee Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American to win a state House race in Minnesota. She advocates for police reform, protective measures for the environment, and making higher education more accessible.

Pramila Jayapal

Washington state’s Pramila Jayapal, who was backed by Bernie Sanders, became one of the first two Indian-American women to be elected to Congress and the first Indian-American woman to hold a seat in the House. She fights for racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and voting rights.

Kate Brown

Just south of Washington, Oregon’s Kate Brown was the first openly LGBT governor ever elected to the role. The Democratic candidate defeated her Republican challenger, Bud Pierce, after serving as governor following the resignation of former Gov. John Kitzhaber during the middle of his term.

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*First Published: Nov 9, 2016, 4:34 pm CST