The New Face of Power Officially Takes Control Today

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty Images

At noon on Thursday, the most diverse class of lawmakers in history will be sworn into the 116th Congress. Not only will a record number of women be taking their seats, but more women of color than ever have been elected into office as Democrats seize control of the House after the November midterm elections.

Among the women being sworn in today are a former MMA fighter, the youngest woman elected to Congress, and the first Muslim-American and Native-American women. Here’s a breakdown of how women are making history today.

A record number of women in Congress

According to Pew Research Center, the 116th Congress will have a record 102 female U.S. House members. (The previous House had 87 women.) The Senate will also have more women, with 25 female members taking their seat on Thursday, compared to 23 women in the previous record.

The youngest-ever congresswomen

At 29 years old, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will become the youngest woman to ever serve in Congress. Abby Finkenauer, a 30-year-old Democrat elected to an Iowa U.S. House seat, will also be one of the youngest Congress members.

The first Muslim-American women elected

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be the first Muslim-American women to ever be elected. Tlaib, a Democratic representative of Michigan, will also be the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress, and Omar, a Democratic representative of Minnesota, will also be the first Somali-American member of Congress.

The first Native-American women in Congress

Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico will be the first Native-American women elected to Congress.

Davids, a lesbian former MMA fighter, will also be the first openly LGBTQ member representing the state of Kansas.

Other historic firsts

Democratic Representative Ayanna Pressley will be the first black woman to represent Massachusetts, and Democrat Jahana Hayes will be Connecticut’s first black congresswoman.

Democrats Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia will be Texas’s first Latina representatives.

And in Arizona, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema will be the state’s first female senator, as well as its first openly bisexual senator.

Another notable first? It’s the first time that a new Congress will be sworn in during a government shutdown, as well as the first time a shutdown has extended into two different Congresses — though Nancy Pelosi has said that she wants to vote on a deal to reopen the government as soon as possible.

If you want to follow along for this historic day,  C-SPAN and C-SPAN 2 will both stream the swearing-in live at 12 p.m. ET.

Today, These Women Make History