On Tuesday night, Pramila Jayapal became the first ever Indian-American woman to be elected to Congress, winning a seat in Seattle's 7th Congressional District. Jayapal immigrated to the U.S. when she was 16 years old and worked as a civil rights activist, founding advocacy group OneAmerica, before becoming a Washington State senator. The progressive politician attracted national attention during this election cycle by attaching herself closely to Senator Bernie Sanders.
In July, the editors of The Nation endorsed Jayapal, writing:
"Jayapal succeeds where others do not because she sees herself as an organizer. She wants to bring people to the table to get things done, and she knows she can do this without compromising on her commitment to economic and social justice. She says she wants to go to Congress “to fight not for the 1 percent, but for working men and women; not for austerity, but for Social Security; not for deportations and breaking up families, but for building stronger middle-class families; not for private schools, colleges, and prisons, but for public education, college-debt relief, and criminal-justice reform.”
In a rough election night for Democrats, there a small number of bright spots. Some celebrated state referendum victories for marijuana legalization efforts, while others cheered on a series of incremental changes of what our government's officials look like, via the victory of California's Kamala Harris.