Twelve years after losing both her legs while serving her country in Iraq, war veteran Tammy Duckworth has been elected to the Senate.
Born in Bangkok, the Illinois Democrat spent her early years in Asia - where her father was working on refugee projects - before completing high school in Hawaii. She moved to Illinois as part of the army after getting a degree in political science and a masters in international affairs.
At her acceptance speech on Tuesday night, Duckworth said, “I’m here tonight because of the miracles that occurred 12 years ago this Saturday, above — and in — a dusty field in Iraq.”
“Just as I try every day to live up to the sacrifice my buddies made to carry me off that battlefield, I will go to work in the Senate looking to honour the sacrifice and quiet dignity of all those Illinoisans who are facing challenges of their own.”
Ilhan Omar is a former refugee, a practicing Muslim and the first Somali-American legislator to be voted into the Minnesota state parliament.
The 34-year-old mother of three came to the US at the age of 12 after fleeing the Somali civil war and spending four years in a Kenyan refugee camp.
In an impassioned post-election letter, Omar told supporters that while elated by her victory, she is also “sick with worry” about the divisions in her nation.
“There is a part of me that wants to go inside my house, close the curtains and lock the door, so I can keep my family safe,” she says.
“I am sad. I am angry. I am grieving… But I will continue to get up every morning and work for justice because that is what WE must do for the sake of all our children and our future.”
“Somehow, we must confront the racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia that plagues this country. There are no easy answers, but we must find ways to try to end this cycle of hate.”
Catherine Cortez Masto
The US Senate will soon have their first serving Latina after Catherine Cortez Masto was elected by the state of Nevada on Tuesday.
A former state attorney general, the 52-year-old strongly believes in diversity, equal pay for equal work, progress on climate change and “comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship”.
Cortez Masto, 52, is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and her win is being celebrated by Latinos on social media as a silver lining moment after a Trump victory.