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New Mexico becomes first state to elect all women of color to its House delegation

All three women celebrated their victory with promises to use their positions to serve the state well.

New Mexico becomes first state to elect all women of color to its House delegation
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/ Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) speaks at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum on August 19, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Stephen Maturen)

New Mexico just became the first state with a House delegation comprised entirely of women of color. Three women announced they had won their districts early Wednesday morning, which were then confirmed by the state. Democratic incumbent Representative Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo Tribe, was reelected to her House seat against challenger Garcia Holmes. Haaland, who made history in 2018 as one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, is joined by Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez, who beat out Republican Alexis Johnson for the state's 3rd Congressional District.




According to CBS News, Fernandez will replace Democratic Representative Ben Ray Luján, who won the state's open Senate seat. Meanwhile, Republican Yvette Herrell, a member of the Cherokee nation who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, won her challenge against incumbent Democratic Representative Xochitl Torres Small in the state's 2nd Congressional District. Besides the president, she also had the support of several other big-name Republicans. All three women celebrated their victory with statements on social media, promising to use their positions to serve the state well.



"Tonight the people of New Mexico have chosen hope over fear, love over hate, community over division, and I am so honored that New Mexican’s have chosen me to serve in our nation’s 117th Congress," tweeted Haaland, adding: "Tonight I recommit to fighting for legislation that will guide our nation forward in the areas of climate change, education, racial equality, healthcare, and economic justice. Thank you New Mexico!" Meanwhile, Fernandez addressed the significance of her win in a statement that reads: "The people of New Mexico have chosen to protect what we love - our democracy, our planet, our families and communities, our health care, and our future. With this victory, I promise you I will take the courageous action that this historic moment demands. Muchísimas gracias!"



"It's the honor of my life to be elected to serve #NM02," tweeted Herrell. "My commitment to each citizen of our district is that I will serve each of them with integrity as we work together to rebuild our economy and protect the values that make America great!" Speaking of the historic significance of Haaland, Fernandez, and Herrell, CBS News chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes said: "We knew that that was going to be an all-female delegation because there were six major party candidates who were all women running, so no matter how the race came out, you were going have an all-female delegation."



A number of states saw historic firsts on Election Day 2020 with many candidates from underrepresented backgrounds being elected to serve at state and local levels. In New York, Democrats Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres became the first two openly gay Black men elected to Congress. "We are going to have a United States Congress that is every bit as diverse and dynamic as America itself," Torres, who is Afro-Latino, said after winning on Tuesday. "Sixty percent of the Democratic conference in the House of Representatives is women, people of color, and LGBTQ. I am proud that am going to contribute to the diversity of the world's greatest legislature, the United States Congress."



Meanwhile, in Delaware, Sarah McBride is set to be the first openly transgender state senator in U.S. history and the country's highest-ranking openly transgender official. 25-year-old Madison Cawthorn will now be the youngest member of Congress, taking the record from Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who was 29 when she was first elected in 2018. Cori Bush was elected the first Black congresswoman in the state of Missouri while in Hawaii, state Senator Kaiali'i Kahele became only the second native Hawaiian to represent the state in Congress.



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