Following an intense election day in which the outcome was not what many expected, it is normal and understandable to become somewhat despondent about politics and America’s political system. However, while this election has certainly been frustrating, it is important to remember that there still are amazing politicians in Congress who are dedicating their careers to making Americans’ lives better.
This list includes members of Congress from both the Senate and the House. Some of them are newly elected and some of them have been serving in their respective elected offices for many years. However, what they all have in common is a strong commitment to advocating for the American people, whether it is through their careers prior to politics or through their time as an elected official. It is also important to note that many of the elected officials on the list are also making history as the first person of their gender and/or ethnicity to serve in their state's designated elected roles.
Thus, to combat the glum feeling you probably have about the future of politics in this country under a Donald Trump presidency, take some time to get to know these amazing members of Congress, and take comfort in the fact that they will work incredibly hard to ensure that your rights and interests are protected and promoted.
1. Senator Tammy Duckworth
Tammy Duckworth is amazing on all fronts. The newly-elected democratic senator from Illinois is an Iraq War veteran and a former assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs; she also holds a Ph.D. and is the first Thai-American elected to the U.S. Senate.
2. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto
Cortez Masto, the newly-elected democratic senator from Nevada, is the first Latina-American to be elected to the U.S. Senate. She is also Nevada's first female senator and a former attorney general.
3. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand has been serving as a senator representing the state of New York since 2009. She has been (and will continue to be) a strong supporter of women's equality and empowerment; previously, she has undertaken advocacy campaigns around women's wage equality and women's protection from sexual assault in the military, among others.
4. Representative Stephanie Murphy
Murphy is the newly elected representative from Florida's Seventh Congressional District, who, in a striking victory, beat out John Mica, the Republican incumbent of 23 years. Murphy is the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress and has a history of advocating for women's entrepreneurship.
5. Senator Patrick Leahy
Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, is the most senior senator in the U.S. Senate and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy has an accomplished career and history of advocating for justice; he was an original co-sponsor of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and is a strong civil rights advocate who has a history of supporting legislation on gay marriage and affirmative action.
6. Senator Kamala Harris
Harris is the newly-elected democratic Senator from California, and is the first-ever African-American woman to serve as the state's senator. She was formerly California's Attorney General and, in her new role as a Senator has already committed to, among other things, protecting immigrants from "draconian" immigration policies that could be enacted under the Trump administration.
7. Senator Sherrod Brown
Brown has served as a Democratic senator from the state of Ohio since 2007, and is well-known for his progressivism; he also has an entire page on his website dedicated to how he's standing up to the "war on women."
8. Senator Corey Booker
Booker has served as New Jersey's junior senator since 2013, and also served as mayor of Newark prior to his time in the Senate. Booker is very well-liked and has a history of advocating for equality-oriented legislation, including co-sponsoring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Access to Birth Control Act
9. Representative Pramila Jayapal
Jayapal is the newly-elected Representative for Washington's Seventh District and is the first Indian-American woman to serve in Congress. She is an ardent immigrant rights activist and looks to make a significant impact in the House of Representatives.
Overall, these politicians, and many more, demonstrate that there is at least something to be excited about in American politics, and that there are still many elected officials who are strong champions for all Americans.