CHARLOTTE, NC – The 116th Congress sworn in today is the most diverse in history. Its members are already breaking barriers and their impact is being noticed by recently elected local leaders.
“It makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger,” said Susan Harden, who represents District 5 of the Mecklenburg County Commission
Harden is one of three women to be newly elected to the county commission.
“I would also say that we were just three great candidates that had three strong skill sets,” said Harden.
There was a wave of change in both local and national politics. In Congress, women have more representation than ever before.
“I’m just very hopeful that the issues around women, around health care, around education, and the environment, family issues will get taken up,” said Harden.
Aside from including 126 women, this congress is the most racially diverse in history.
with 55 Black Caucus members, 37 Hispanic Caucus members, 20 Asian American/Pacific Islander, five that identify as LGBTQ, and two Native Americans.
“We want to have those diverse voices at the table because I think the diversity makes better decisions,” explained Harden.
Also making history is Nancy Pelosi. She was selected again as Speaker of the House, she previously served in the role from 2007 to 2011. Pelosi is the only woman Speaker of the House ever.
“I’m particularly proud to be a woman speaker of the house of this congress which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote.”
Harden says the work is only beginning, not only in Congress, but on a local level. She says her priorities for 2019 locally are education and park preservation.
“‘m out representing everybody now,” said Harden.