Voters in Tuesday’s midterms delivered a series of historic firsts for minorities and marginalized people. Minority candidates, women, and members of the LGBTQ community will be taking up the mantle of elected office in their states for the first time.
In both local and national races, LGBTQ individuals will be occupying seats and offices for the first time, overcoming an election cycle marked by vicious attacks against the LGBTQ community.
In Massachusetts, Maura Healey defeated Republican Geoff Diehl to become both the first woman and first open lesbian to hold the state’s governorship. She’s also the first open lesbian to to be elected governor of any state. One cross-country red eye away in Oregon, Democrat Tina Kotek is in a tight race become the second. If Kotek wins, she’d replace the state’s current historic governor Kate Brown, the nation’s first openly bisexual governor.
At the congressional level, Becca Balint won a landslide victory to become the first lesbian, and first woman, to occupy Vermont’s single seat in the House of Representatives. Balint previously became the state’s first lesbian state senator in 2014. “It’s such an incredible honor,” Balint said in an interview shortly after her election, celebrating that people in Vermont “can finally see themselves in elected office.”
New Hampshire elected James Roesener and became the first state in the country to elect a transgender man into their legislature. “From safeguarding reproductive rights to increasing investment in New Hampshire’s education and health care systems, James is well prepared to enact legislation that will deliver lasting results for his community,” Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and a former mayor of Houston, wrote in a statement. “Trans people – and trans men in particular – remain severely underrepresented in government at every level, but we are confident his win will inspire many more trans people to run for office.”
The historic firsts didn’t end with the LGBTQ community. Maryland elected Wes Moore as the state’s first Black governor. In his acceptance speech, Moore thanked voters for believing in “the son of an immigrant.”
“It is not lost on me that I’ve made some history here tonight,” wrote Moore in a statement on Twitter. “But I also know I’m not the first one to try. This is just more proof that progress is possible in Maryland. And I am humbled to be a part of this legacy.”
In Florida, the youth claimed a victory, with Maxwell Alejandro Frost securing a victory as the first member of Gen-Z to be elected to the House of Representatives. “WE WON!!!!” the 25-year-old wrote on Twitter. “History was made tonight. We made history for Floridians, for Gen Z, and for everyone who believes we deserve a better future. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to represent my home in the United States Congress.”
Frost, a prolific organizer and activist who has worked with both the ACLU and the March for Our Lives, ran on a progressive platform that promises to “end gun violence, win Medicare For All, transform our racist criminal justice system, and end the climate crisis.” In a tweet following the announcement of his victory, Frost wrote that his campaign had “for everyone who believes we deserve a better future.”
“TODAY, GEN-Z IS GOING TO CONGRESS BAYBEEEE,” he added later.