People Involved in Politics

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, AOC

In 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (1989–    ) ran an election campaign on a progressive platform with no corporate funding and was elected as a Democrat and the youngest woman ever to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York's 14th Congressional District. Often referred to by her initials AOC, her focus as an advocate for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice is to serve working class people rather than corporate interests.

Last modified: 17 August 2019

Ayanna Pressley, Ayanna Soyini Pressley

In 2018, when Ayanna Soyini Pressley (1974–    ), who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and raised in Chicago, Illinois, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusett's 7th Congressional District, she became the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Her involvement in public service and politics began in 7th grade, when she was elected class president, a position she won every year until her graduation from the Francis W. Parker School, where she was commencement speaker.

Last modified: 5 August 2019

Elijah Eugene Cummings

Congressman Elijah Eugene Cummings (1951–2019), born in Baltimore, Maryland, to working-class parents who had migrated from South Carolina, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996, representing Maryland's 7th Congressional District. He previously served fourteen years in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he became the first African American to be named as Speaker Pro Tem of that body.

Last modified: 25 October 2019

Ilhan Omar, Ilhan Abdullahi Omar

In 2018, when Ilhan Abdullahi Omar (1981[some sources say 1982]–    ) was elected as a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, she became the first woman of color to represent Minnesota in the Congress and one of the first two Muslim-American women (the other is Rashida Tlaib from Michigan) elected to that national legislative body.

Last modified: 16 August 2019

Katie Beatrice Hall, Katie Beatrice Greene

Katie Beatrice Hall (1938–2012), Democrat from Indiana, served the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 through 1984 and introduced an act to make the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a legal public holiday. The bill passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. Born Katie Beatrice Greene in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, Katie earned a bachelor's degree from Mississippi Valley University and a master's degree from Indiana University.

Last modified: 5 May 2019

Parren James Mitchell

Parren James Mitchell (1922–2007), Democrat from Maryland, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971 through 1986. He was the first African American Congressman from Maryland and the first Southern black to serve in Congress in the twentieth century. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, after high school he served as a U.S. Army officer during World War II. While in Italy during the war, he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. When he returned home, he studied at Morgan State University, graduating in 1950.

Last modified: 6 May 2019

Rashida Tlaib, Rashida Harbi Tlaib

In 2018, Rashida Harbi Tlaib (1976–    ) was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives for Michigan's 13th Congressional District. The oldest of fourteen children, born in Detroit, Michigan, to Palestinian immigrants, she is proud of her heritage and is focused on changing lives for the better. After graduating from Wayne State University with a bachelor's degree in political science and Western Michigan University's Thomas M.

Last modified: 12 August 2019