Congress swearing in and GOP leadership vote 2023

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US Rep.-elect Maxwell Frost will be the first Gen-Z member of Congress. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The 118th Congress, being sworn in Tuesday, will eclipse several records set by the outgoing Congress.

It features a record-setting number of women, 149 – expanding female representation by just two members above the record set by the 117th Congress. Overall, women of color will also break a record for their representation this year, with 58 serving, and within the House alone, there will be a record number of both Latinas and Black women.

The new Congress also boasts the House’s first Gen-Z lawmaker and the longest-serving woman in congressional history.

Some newcomers, Republicans and Democrats alike, also achieved historic firsts in their own states, ushering a diverse group into a politically split Washington.

Here’s a look at the lawmakers, some new and some returning, who are making history in each chamber during this session of Congress.

US Senate

Alabama: Republican Katie Britt is the first woman elected to the Senate from Alabama, winning an open seat vacated by her onetime boss, GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, who held the seat for nearly four decades.

Alabama’s two previous female senators both were appointed to fill vacancies.

California: Democrat Alex Padilla will be the first elected Latino senator from California, winning a special election for the remainder of Vice President Kamala Harris’ term as well as an election for a full six-year term. Padilla, the son of Mexican immigrant parents, was appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to the seat Harris vacated when she became vice president.

Oklahoma: Republican Markwayne Mullin will be the first Native American senator from Oklahoma in almost 100 years, winning the special election to succeed GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe, who is resigning. Mullin, a member of the Cherokee Nation, represented the state’s 2nd Congressional District in the last Congress. Democrat Robert Owen, also a member of the Cherokee Nation, represented Oklahoma in the Senate from 1907 to 1925.

US House of Representatives

AZ-06: Juan Ciscomani will be the first Latino Republican elected to Congress from Arizona. Ciscomani, who was born in Mexico and immigrated to the US with his family as a child, previously worked at the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and was a senior adviser to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

CA-42: Democrat Robert Garcia will be the first out LGBTQ immigrant elected to Congress. Garcia, who immigrated from Lima, Peru, in the early 1980s at the age of 5, has been the mayor of Long Beach.

CO-08: Democrat Yadira Caraveo will be the first Latina elected to Congress from Colorado. Caraveo, a state representative and the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents, defeated Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer to win the seat located north of Denver.

Read more about more historic firsts in this year’s Congress here


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