The United States government has many new faces at both the state and federal levels after a nail-biting election week. As the stress of the election begins to ease, now is the time to assess the outcomes across the country.
Americans witnessed many historical elections, both federal and local. Politicians representing a variety of identities and communities were elected up and down the ballot. At the top, there is the historic election of Vice President Kamala Harris. A former U.S. Senator, Harris will be the first woman, the first Asian-American and the first black American to be vice president.
The LGBTQ+ community made history when Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres, two openly gay black men, were elected to Congress. Members of the LGBTQ+ community were also elected at the state and local levels. One of these historic firsts was that of Delaware State Senator-elect Sarah McBride.
Senator-elect McBride built her campaign on issues such as affordable healthcare, universal paid family leave, criminal justice reform and renewable energy. On Election Day, she was elected to represent District One in the Delaware State Senate, becoming the first transgender person to be elected state senator. At the time of her inauguration in January 2021, McBride will hold the highest position of any transgender individual in the history of the United States.
Her historic win has led to more focus on her identity than on her policies. McBride told news source Mic that it does not bother her and that she is “proud to be trans and to advocate for the trans community… the gender diversity [she] brings to her state’s legislative body is important.”
McBride is also a spokesperson for the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), where she calls for increased rights for the transgender community. The HRC expressed their support for her throughout her campaign and congratulated McBride on the night of her victory.
Before her recent election into the Delaware state senate, McBride's career was already full of political firsts. She was the first transgender woman to work at the White House during her time as an intern for the Obama Administration, and at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, she became the first transgender person to speak at a major party convention.
During her time as a civil servant, McBride has advocated for the passing of significant legislation in her home state. As a member of the Board of Directors of Equality Delaware, she was a lead advocate for the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act in Delaware, which was signed into law in 2013. She was also instrumental in the passing of state legislation that protects vulnerable youth from child abuse.
McBride's other accomplishments include being the youngest person to ever receive the highest civilian honor in the state of Delaware, the Order of the First State. She was awarded this in 2013 at the age of 23 by now-former Governor Markell. She also delivered a TED talk in April 2016 about gender identity.
McBride's election represents an increase in diversity in politics. In recent election cycles, more communities have come to the forefront, seeking representation in government. This trend is exemplified by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other women of color that make up “The Squad,” as they’ve been affectionately named on social media.
These leaders, now including McBride, emphasize the importance of diversity and intersectionality in the realm of law-making. As said by McBride, “We can’t create solutions for a diverse community if the full diversity of that community is not reflected in the representatives of the people.”