Tuesday, January 3, 2017

115th US Congress is Most Racially Diverse

The 115th Congress being sworn in Tuesday will be the United States’ most racially diverse congress in history.

Most of the minority politicians in the 115th Congress are Democrats. Of the record 49 African American lawmakers (up from 46), just three are Republicans.

Hispanics and Asian-Americans are also represented in record highs this Congress. Thirty-eight Hispanic lawmakers will serve across both chambers. Fifteen Asian-Americans will serve, up from 11 in the 114th Congress.

Representative Ami Bera, a California Democrat, an Indian-American, will be joined by three house members as well as Senator Kamala Harris, whose father is from Jamaica and mother from India. She is the first woman of South Asian descent to serve in the Senate, and the second black woman.

FILE - U.S. Capitol.

FILE – U.S. Capitol.

The number of women of color in the Senate quadrupled this year as Harris, Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) join incumbent Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who was only the second minority woman to ever serve in the Senate. Cortez Masto is the first Latina Senator in the United States.

A record number of 21 women will serve in the Senate.

But the number of women overall in the 115th Congress remains unchanged from the previous one – a total of 104 members, or 19 percent, quite in contrast to the American population in general, which is 50 percent female.

The number of LGBTQ and non-Christian lawmakers also remains unchanged this year.

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