After four years of division, hatred and tragedy that we’ve experienced during Donald Trump’s presidency, the American people are hungry for a positive change. That was only made evident by the historic voter turnout this year, and the wave of diverse appointments nationwide. There were quite a number of firsts in several states, as well as some laws regarding voting rights, drugs and crime in several others.
We may not have an answer as to who the next president of the United States will be just yet — though it’s looking pretty good for Biden — but based on the history being made in other 2020 elected seats, we have reason to keep hope that the tide is turning for our good.
Take a look at some of the newly appointed politicians and approved laws that made history this election season below.
1. Cori Bush is Missouri’s first Black Congresswoman.
Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush made the culture proud after officially becoming the first Black congresswoman in Missouri’s history. She won by a landslide victory, garnering 84% of the vote in the state’s 1st Congressional District. Bush, who is also a registered nurse and an ordained pastor, rose to prominence as an activist following the killing of Michael Brown in 2014. She’d previously ran for the House of Representatives in 2018 and for a Senate seat in 2016.
2. Brandon Scott elected as mayor in Baltimore, the youngest to snag the job in the city’s history.
Thirty-six-year-old Scott was just elected mayor of Baltimore, becoming the youngest candidate ever to do so. Prior to his mayoral seat, Scott was first elected a Baltimore City Councilman at only 27 years old, according to CBS. He was later appointed president of Baltimore City Council in May 2019.
3. Sarah McBride, an LGBTQ activist, will become the nation’s first openly trans state senator.
McBride, a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, won 73% of the state’s vote against her Republican opponent Steve Washington. To date, she is the first openly transgender person elected to serve as a state senator in the United States.
4. Michele Raynor-Goolsby and Shevrin Jones became Florida’s first openly queer Black woman elected as a state legislator and its first openly LGBTQ+ state senator, respectively.
Shattering barriers in the notoriously Republican state of Florida, Raynor-Goolsby and Jones are making waves as two open proud Black and queer politicians. Rayner-Goolsby won in Florida’s district 70, making her the first out LGBTQ Black woman elected to its House of Representatives. Shervin Jones, who came out in 2018, will represent District 35 in the State Senate and is the state’s first openly gay senator.
5. Kim Jackson was elected as the first openly LGBTQ+ state senator in Georgia’s history.
The fierce Kim Jackson won her election to represent District 41 in the Georgia State Senate, making her the first openly LGBTQ woman ever elected in the peach state.
6. Stephanie Byers became the first openly transgender person ever elected to the Kansas State House and the first openly trans person of color ever elected to a state legislature in the U.S.
According to Kansas.com, Byers, a retired high school band teacher, became determined to run for office after years of being frustrated every time the state would cut funding from schools. On Nov. 3, she was elected to represent the 86th District in the Kansas Legislature. With her victory, she’s become the first transgender legislator elected in Kansas and the entire Midwest.
7. Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torress win as the first openly gay Black members of Congress.
Jones won his race for New York’s 17th Congressional District while Ritchie Torres took the W in the race for the 15th Congressional District in the South Bronx. Together, they’ve become the first openly gay Black — Torress is also Afro Latino — members of Congress. Both representatives will enter the house in January.
8. Jabari Brisport wins New York’s 25th District, making him the first LGBTQ person of color elected to the New York state legislature.
Brisport is officially the first openly Black queer person to be elected in the New York Legislature. The public school teacher ran uncontested and now joins Florida’s Shevrin Jones as one of only two openly LGBT+ Black men in US state Senates.
9. Khaleel Anderson became the youngest Black lawmaker in New York’s history.
Twenty-four-year-old Queens native Khaleel Anderson won a seat in Southeast Queens’ Assembly District 31, becoming the youngest lawmaker in New York’s history. He won 89% of the votes, and told press that he was “honored” to become the youngest Black candidate elected to state office.
10. Fort Bend, Texas elected Eric Fagan, its first Black sheriff since Reconstruction. Texas City also elected Dedrick Johnson as the city’s first Black mayor.
Democrat Eric Fagan made history Tuesday night as Fort Bend County voters made him the second Black sheriff in its history. The first, Walter Moses Burton, held the position more than 150 years ago. According to NBC Houston, Fagan previously served as a Houston police officer and has a Master’s degree in Juvenile Forensic Psychology. Johnson has also made history with the milestone election of his own.
11. Marilyn Strickland is now the first Black person to represent Washington state in Congress.
According to The Hill, Strickland won the election for Washington’s 10th Congressional District. In turn, the congresswoman, who is mixed race, has become the first Korean American elected to Congress and the first Black person to represent Washington at the federal level.
12. Taylor Small becomes Vermont’s first transgender legislator.
Twenty-six-year-old Taylor Small was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives on Tuesday, making her the first openly transgender member of the state legislature. Boston.com reports that Small has a full-time job as the director of the health and wellness program at Pride Center of Vermont, and that she hopes her victory proves to young queer and trans people that they can also become leaders in their community.
13. Nikil Saval became the first Asian American elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate.
Saval, who boasts an endorsement from Bernie Sanders, became the first Asian American to be elected to Pennsylvania’s Senate. He replaces replacing Larry Farnese Jr., a Democrat who, according to Curbed, has been state senator since 2009.
14. New Mexico’s House delegation is now entirely women of color.
New Mexico made history by electing its first U.S. House delegation made exclusively of women of color. Democrat Deb Haaland, one of the first Native American women in Congress, won a second term in the 1st Congressional District. Republican Yvette Herrell, a member of Cherokee Nation, won the 2nd Congressional District. Finally, Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez was elected to represent the 3rd District.
15. Madinah Wilson-Anton becomes Delaware’s first Muslim legislator.
16. Oregon decriminalized the use of hard drugs like heroin, cocaine while legalizing psychedelic mushrooms.
Oregon became the first state to end the criminalization of people who use hard drugs. Voters passed Oregon Measure 110, which decriminalizes possession of small amounts of “hard drugs” including cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and methamphetamines. Measure 110 will also establish a drug addiction treatment and recovery program, which will be partly funded by the state’s marijuana tax revenue and state prison savings.
17. Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and New Jersey legalized marijuana.
Residents of Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and New Jersey received some big news on Election Day, as it was announced that all four states passed legislation to permit recreational marijuana use by adults. So far, this means 15 of America’s 50 states have either legalized marijuana or voted to, as reported by USA Today.