- The new members of Congress took their oaths of office today.
- There are significant disparities in the racial and gender diversity of the new members.
- All of the new Republicans are white, and just one is female. Among new Democrats, 64% are female, 37% identify as people of colour, and 24% identify as women of colour.
The 116th Congress was sworn in to office today – and there are stark differences in the diversity of the new members in the House of Representatives across party lines.
Out of the 44 new Republican House members, 98% are white and heterosexual, and just two new Republicans, Carol Miller of West Virginia, and Debbie Lesko of Arizona, are female. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, a Republican with Cuban heritage, is the only non-white GOP freshman.
Among the 66 new Democrats, however, 34 of them (52%) are female, and 22 (34%) identify as people of colour.
Thirteen (24%) are women of colour. They also include four openly LGBTQ+ members: Katie Hill of California, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Angie Craig of Minnesota, and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire.
The new members of the 116th Congress! Noticeable diversity among the Democratic lawmakers (and lack of it among Republicans) pic.twitter.com/UGk6wmJaRV
— Natalie Andrews (@nataliewsj) November 13, 2018
While a record number of women – 114 to be exact – have been elected to serve in the 116th Congress, most of the gains in female representation have been in the Democratic Party, which gained a net 40 seats in the House and unseated several Republican women in the process.
A record number of women of colour, 40, who are mostly Democrats, will also serve in the upcoming term. This year, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan made history as the first Muslim women elected to Congress, while Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico are the first Native American women.
Meanwhile in Utah, Mia Love, the GOP’s only African-American congresswoman, lost to Democrat Ben McAdams.