By MINDI MESSMER
For the Monitor
Saturday, January 05, 2019
It is so inspiring to see the 116th Congress, the most incredibly diverse in history, taking their seats. This congressional class is the youngest, the most racially, ethnically and gender diverse, ever.
This Congress has the most women ever, although it is still only about one-fifth women, so there is still some room to do some work there. Some have young families and are pushing Washington to be more attentive to their needs, which ultimately will result in more younger parents running for and winning seats.
The most exciting thing is the newly elected members are energized women who saw the need to step into the race. They are opening up and documenting their experiences as we have never seen before. It’s not just because they are social-media savvy but because they have a feeling, more so than ever before, that they are beholden to the people who voted them into office. They are dedicated to making the change in Washington that we all want and need. And it’s fascinating.
As they step into office there is a government shutdown in place, and there are some real challenges they were elected to address.
Most were elected to extend a hand to help our working families, implement Medicare for All, address climate change and re-establish a government that works for all of us.
As climate change threatens our planet and 30 million people have no health insurance, only Ro Khanna of California, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York voted against PayGo, a measure that will hamper progress on Medicare for All and other legislation. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 75 percent of people want Medicare for All.
Running for a national office is not easy and their work has just begun as they take their seats and move into their new offices. Now that we have elected them to office, we must continue to be active participants in our democracy.
Call, email and meet with them to work together and guide them to be as successful as we need and want them to be.
(Mindi Messmer, a former state representative and 1st Congressional District candidate, lives in Rye.)