Celebratory roundups of female “firsts” elected to the US Congress—including the first two Muslim women, the first two Native American women, and the first Korean-American woman—have been abounding since last night’s election results started trickling in.
Yet there is one more highlight that could be included. Though Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, is the youngest ever woman to be elected in Congress, she is so only by a few months. Abby Finkenauer, a newly elected Democrat from Iowa’s first district, is also just 29-years-old, and though she will be 30 by the time she is inaugurated, her feat is still remarkable.
Although Iowa is a swing state that voted for Trump in the last election, Finkenauer was able to flip her Cedar Rapids district, beating Republican incumbent Rod Blum. Finkenauer’s campaign out-raised Blum’s by over $1.3 million, with most of her money coming from out of state contributions.
One of four siblings from a working-class family, Finkenauer is a first-generation college graduate. She was elected as a representative in Iowa’s state legislature in 2014, and ran on a platform that promotes cutting down student debt, setting up universal health care, the right to abortion, and funding for organizations that provide it. She is in favor of renewing DACA and reforming immigration policies, but does not favor abolishing ICE.
Finkenauer, who joins the largest female representation in Congressional history, is one of three women who won prominent races in Iowa: Cindy Axne, another Democrat, was also elected to the House, and Kim Reynolds, a Republican, won the gubernatorial race.