Record 102 Women Sworn into U.S. House of RepresentativesTop Stories

January 05, 2019 10:04
Record 102 Women Sworn into U.S. House of Representatives

On the first working day of the 116th Congress, a record of 102 women was sworn into the United States House of Representatives as Democrats regained control of the lower chamber for the first time in eight years.

An Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has now re-elected for a second term and took the oath of office on the sacred Hindu scripture, Bhagavad Gita, and a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

"Today, I was sworn into the 116th Congress, our most diverse and most progressive Congress yet! I am honored to once again represent the beautiful people of Washington-District 7," she said on micro-blogging site Twitter.

The Democratic lawmaker who earned 84 percent of the vote in the recent midterm elections, vowed, "I'm ready to fight for a bolder progressive America in the 116th Congress."

A strong woman of color, she has been called Leader of the Resistance, the anti-Trump.

Administering the oath was Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi who holds the distinction of being the only woman to serve as Speaker of the House.

"I am particularly proud to be the woman Speaker of the House of this Congress which marks 100 years of women having the right to vote. And that we all have the ability and privilege to serve with more than 100 women in Congress – the largest number in history," she said at the opening session on Thursday afternoon.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to the House, took the oath of office on her personal copy of the Bhagavad Gita. The Democratic lawmaker from Hawaii will be serving her fourth term in Congress amid speculation of a 2020 presidential bid.

Delivering the keynote address at the Honolulu City Council inauguration, Friday, she lamented, "Divisiveness, hatred, bigotry, and greed have cast a dark shadow over our country and so much of our politics," and proceeded to dwell on the healing power of Aloha which she described as "being in the presence of and recognizing the breath of life in others."

Heartily welcoming her sister Susheela Jayapal to Congress, Jayapal declared, "When I became the first member of Congress to endorse Rashida Tlaib many months ago during her campaign, I knew what I have known since I worked with her 17 years ago: she is a powerhouse."

On Thursday, Newly-elected Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar took the oath of office on her grandfather's Quran, wearing a hijab. "No one puts a scarf on my head but me," she tweeted last November. "It's my choice - one protected by the First Amendment. And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift."

At her swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill, Ocasio-Cortez made a strong statement in a white pantsuit and looked stunning in the process. "I wore all-white today to honor the women who paved the path before me, and for all the women yet to come," she explained in a Twitter post. "From suffragettes to Shirley Chisholm, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn't for the mothers of the movement," she said.

Referring to the new generation of female trailblazers in Congress, Ayanna Pressley who was herself sworn into the House as the first black Congresswoman from the state of Massachusetts, tweeted, "We marched. We ran. And we won. I'm excited to serve alongside these groundbreaking women, and look forward to working with them to elevate the voices of women and girls across the country."

Quoting former First Lady Michelle Obama, she said, "There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish."

At the opening session of the 116th Congress, Pelosi affirmed, "When our new members take the oath, our Congress will be refreshed, and our democracy will be strengthened by their optimism, idealism, and patriotism of this transformative freshman class."

-Sowmya Sangam

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