Pramila Jayapal Is The First Indian-American Woman Elected To Congress & That's Something To Celebrate
This election has been stressful AF to say the least. And election night? If you couldn't tell from your Facebook friends' "WTF is happening?" statuses or tweeting celebrities, election anxiety is at an all-time high. While you were busy freaking out over states going to Trump (how could you, Florida!?) or the photos from his election night party, or how life in general was just looking bleak AF, something pretty major happened on Tuesday, Nov. 8: Pramila Jayapal was the first Indian-American woman elected to the House of Representatives.
The Democratic State Senator, who was backed by Bernie Sanders, beat her opponent Democrat Brady Walkinshaw by getting 57 percent of the vote. Jayapal came to the United States as an immigrant from India when she was 16. "I’ve lived the American Dream," she writes on her website, "and I’ve devoted my life to fighting for others to have the opportunities they need to achieve their own American Dream."
And now, she's making history in Congress — much-needed history. In 2014, FiveThirtyEight pointed out that more Democratic voters than Republican voters think that Congress should better reflect the country’s demographics. In a July 2014 Gallup poll, the question: “Do you think this country would be governed better or governed worse if more women were in political office?” was asked. Among Democrats, 75 percent said better, and just 10 percent worse. Among Republicans, 46 percent said better and 19 percent said worse.
So what does Jayapal's win mean? Well, she's spent the last 25 years focused on fighting to expand the middle class over Washington state, which she plans to do in Congress too. Here's what else she's hoping to achieve in Washington D.C.:
1. A Higher Minimum Wage
"I will fight for a higher minimum wage because working families deserve a pay raise; paid sick and safe days so workers don’t have to worry about losing a job when they are sick or dealing with domestic violence; and equal pay for equal work, because women deserve every penny they’ve earned," she says on her website.
2. Fighting For Women's Rights
"I’m committed to fighting for women in all aspects of their lives, including raising the minimum wage, implementing paid sick, safe and family leave and ensuring women are accorded the power and voice that they deserve for the places they hold in the home, in the workplace, and in the community,” she says on her website.
3. Debt-Free College
In fact, it's the first bill she's planning on proposing.