Skip to main content

#RepresentationMatters: A Historic Midterm Election in Minnesota

By Rubén Vazquez, vice president, Racial Justice and Public Policy
November 14, 2018
Social Share

Last week’s election was historic in so many ways; the highest number of women elected to office, the most diverse incoming Congress and the highest midterm election voter turnout in Minnesota – 64 percent to be exact. For comparison, in the last midterm election in 2014, Minnesota had just over 50 percent.

We also saw so many “firsts” – the first Native American women elected to Congress (Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland), first openly gay man elected to Congress (Jared Polis) and youngest woman elected to Congress (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez).

And Minnesota also made its own history:

  • Peggy Flanagan, the nation’s first Native American woman elected lieutenant governor
  • Ilhan Omar, the nation’s first Somali-American member of Congress
  • Angie Craig, first openly LGBTQ member of Congress from Minnesota
  • David Hutchinson, first openly gay sheriff in the Midwest
  • Angela Conley and Irene Fernando, first women-of-color commissioners in Hennepin County
  • Maria Regan Gonzalez, Minnesota’s first Latina mayor for the city of Richfield
  • Kim Norton, Rochester’s first woman mayor
  • Jonathan Judd, Moorhead’s first African-American mayor

Leaders Reflecting Our Community

We should be very proud of the voter turnout and all of the “firsts” we have been able to accomplish. If there’s anything this election has taught us, it is that every vote matters. The rich diversity of our community reflected in the leaders who represent us will make a difference in the years ahead.

Stay Engaged in Changemaking

Yet, the work is far from over. Let this past election continue to motivate you to take action – don’t let your efforts end in the voting booth! There are lots of ways to stay engaged in politics and your community: attend a city council meeting, volunteer for an organization fighting for social justice, subscribe to a political podcast, like MPR’s Policast® or register for YWCA’s It’s Time to Act!
Learn More about YWCA Racial Justice and Public Policy