Diversity firsts from the 2020 election

Oklahoma elected Mauree Turner (D), the country’s first non-binary state legislator. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

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Oklahoma elected Mauree Turner (D), the country’s first non-binary state legislator. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

By Karlee Van De Venter, Arts and Features Editor

While the presidential race has been at the forefront of election coverage, the elections this year brought a lot of historic firsts. Federal, state and local governments all became more diverse with the results. 

For starters, New Mexico became the first state with a House delegation of solely women of color. These women include Deb Haaland (D), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D) and Yvette Herrell (R).

New York elected the first two openly gay black members of Congress: Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones.

Republican Madison Cawthorn is the youngest elected Congressman since 1965, representing North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. 

History was made right here in Washington state as well, with Marilyn Strickland (D). She’s the first black woman to represent Washington state, but she’s also the first Korean-American congresswoman in U.S. history. 

Florida elected Democrat Michele Rayner-Goolsby to the House of Representatives. She will be the first openly queer black woman to be elected in Florida at any level. They also elected Shevrin Jones (D), the first openly gay person elected to state senate. 

Sarah McBride (D) broke barriers in Delaware as the first transgender state senator. This makes her the highest ranking transgender official in U.S. history. 


Creator: Bill Clark
Credit: CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
Copyright: © 2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Oklahoma elected Mauree Turner (D), the country’s first non-binary state legislator. Turner is also the state’s first Muslim legislator, Oklahoma’s 88th District’s first black representative, and the first state legislator to use they/them pronouns in the U.S. 

Pennsylvania checked off multiple “firsts” with Jessica Benham (D). She’s the first openly bisexual legislator for the state, as well as the first openly autistic legislator for the state. She will become one of few neurodivergent elected officials. 

Tennessee elected their first two openly LGBTQ+ members of the state house, Eddie Mannis (R) and Torrey Harris (D).

Democrat Cori Bush became the first black congresswoman in Missouri. 

New York also elected Indian-Americans Jenifer Rajkumar (D) and Zohran Mamdani (D), the first South Asians to represent New York’s lower house legislature. 

Iman Jodeh (D) is Colorado’s first Muslim legislator in state office. David Ortiz (D) is Colorado’s first wheelchair user in the state house. He’s also the state’s first openly bisexual legislator. 

Georgia elected their first LGBTQ+ state senator with Kim Jackson (D), who defeated her opponent with 80% of the vote. 

Taylor Small (D) was elected as the first transgender state legislator in Vermont. 

Kansas elected their first transgender lawmaker, Stephanie Byers (D), making her the first transgender lawmaker in the entire midwest. 

Rhode Island elected Tiara Mack (D), the first openly LGBTQ+ black state senator there. 

Lastly, the presidential election has been called by Associated Press, CNN, CBS and more in favor of the Biden-Harris administration. Some states are still pending results or awaiting recounts. But if the race continues in this direction, Kamala Harris (D), a woman of color, will become the first female Vice President elect of the U.S.

Nearly 200 LGBTQ+ candidates won their respective races this election. In many ways, this year’s election results showcase the most diverse and inclusive group of legislators the country has had thus far.