News / USA

New US Congress is Most Diverse in History

New US Congress is Most Diverse in Historyi
|| 0:00:00
X
Carolyn Presutti
December 05, 2012 3:25 PM
New US legislators - those taking office for the first time in January - are more diverse than at any other time in U.S. history. Barriers have been broken on ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. In fact, among the 200 Democratic representatives, women and those of various minorities will outnumber straight white males. VOA's Carolyn Presutti introduces us to a few of the history-making lawmakers in a Congress that will more closely reflect the people who live in the United States.

New US legislators taking office for the first time this week are more diverse than at any other time in American history.

The new US legislators taking office for the first time this week are more diverse than at any other time in U.S. history.  

Barriers have been broken on ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. In fact, among the 200 Democratic representatives, women and those of various minorities will outnumber straight white males.

Capitol Hill is daunting for any first year legislator, but imagine maneuvering it in a wheelchair.

Representative-elect Tammy Duckworth lost her legs when a rocket-propelled grenade slammed into her Blackhawk helicopter in Iraq.

Duckworth is the first female combat veteran and the first U.S. representative born in Thailand.  In fact, the incoming legislators look more like the U.S. population than ever before, creating the most colorful Congress America has seen.

"I think it's fantastic," said Duckworth.  "It reflects our nation -- our nation is more diverse.  It is the strength of this nation.  We come from all different backgrounds."

Like Tulsi Gabbard, who represents Hawaii and is the first Hindu member of Congress.  And Sean Maloney, an openly gay member.

"It will bring into the process voices that have been left out," said Maloney.  "And I think that's always a good thing.  That's the story of America, right?"

White men founded the country.  White straight men are now the minority among House Democrats.  These are changing times, says John Samples of the Cato Institute.

"That's the way the system is supposed to work," Samples explained.  "The country changes, the demographic changes, there are political changes."

Republicans have not seen the same changes among their representatives. Of the 36 who are new, all are white. Just three are women.  Republican Representative-elect Roger Williams says what matters is the goal.    

"None of us came over on the same ship, but we are all on the same boat," said Williams.

But that "same boat" carries lawmakers with diverse priorities, stemming from the changing look of their districts.
 
Once they take office, some analysts predict passage of laws that are more inclusive - ones that will reflect the new faces of America.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid