As the 113th Congress opens, the Senate and the House are starting to look a little bit more like the people they represent. The new Congress includes a record number of women (101 across both chambers, counting three nonvoting members), as well as various firsts for the numbers of Latinos and Asians as well as Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. But it was the rise of the female legislator — 20 in the Senate and 81 in the House — that had the Capitol thrumming with excited potential on Thursday. This Congress promises to be more diverse than its predecessors in several ways. On hand at the Capitol were Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin, the first openly gay senator; the first Hindu representative, Ms. Gabbard; and Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, the first Buddhist senator. Representative Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, also became the first openly bisexual member to serve in Congress. Although the number of black legislators remained at 43, Tim Scott, previously a Republican House member from South Carolina, became the first black senator from his state, as well as the first black Republican in the Senate since 1979.
07 Jan 2013