Kaley Ciluffo

There were 400 her story makers that ran for political office in 2018—the highest of any midterm in U.S. history. The surge of women, minorities and first-time candidates vying for leadership positions, at the state and federal levels, reflected a desire for a changing political climate among American citizens. 

Below is a look at some historic firsts that will be remembered.



The youngest woman elected to the 14th Congressional District of New York, the 29-year-old Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent, is ushering in a new progressive wave. Campaigning with town halls and grassroots donations, Ocasio-Cortez was a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Her platform includes the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, tuition-free college, a federal jobs guarantee, universal Medicare, gun control and access to affordable housing. 





A former Boston councilwoman, Pressley is the first African American woman elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress. After defeating incumbent Mike Capuano in the primary, Pressley ran unopposed in the November general election. In her victory speech, she demanded more from the Democratic leaders of her party. Uncompromising, bold and unafraid, Pressley is looking to make waves in the House. 





One of two Muslim women elected to Congress, Omar is the first woman of color and Somali-American legislator elected in Minnesota. Her agenda is progressive with calls for a $15 minimum wage and subsidized higher education costs for low-income students. A former refugee, Omar spent four years as a state legislator prior to her 2018 Congressional campaign. 





Shouldering two centuries worth of long-overdue Native American representation, Davids and Haaland combined to win their Congressional districts. 

A former attorney and MMA fighter, Sharice Davids traded in a professional MMA career in for a shot at making political history. Winning the 3rd Congressional district of Kansas, Davids is one of the first Native American women, sharing history with Deb Haaland, to win a seat in U.S. Congress. She is also the first openly-gay Kansas representative. A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation tribe in Wisconsin, Davids has traveled the U.S. to live on reservations and work in Native American communities. Her work on reservations garnered recognition from Washington political elites, and she has become a national expert on economic and community development programs and initiatives for Native Americans. 

Haaland, a single-mother and New Mexico’s newest congresswoman, is a member of New Mexico’s Pueblo of Laguna tribe. Born into a military family, Haaland is a working-class Indigenous woman who forged her own path into politics, without a silver spoon. Haaland is hoping to be a voice for the marginalized and oppressed. She stood with activists at Standing Rock and is committed to expanding the use of renewable energy in her state and securing strong health care and education. 





The openly bisexual woman, elected to Congress in California, champions the LGBTQ community. Unseating anti-gay rights Republican incumbent, Steve Knight, Hill is the daughter of a nurse and police officer. Hill ran a campaign centered on community values and grassroots efforts, declining money from corporate PACs. Before politics, Hill worked to build up People Assisting the Homeless (PATH). As the executive director, Hill wants to address poverty at its roots. She scaled the organization from a local to California’s largest nonprofit provider of homes for the homeless.