- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 29 March 2017
- Written by YENDILI BELLO | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Due to the clamorous presidential election, not much attention was put on the senate election and its results. The election resulted in the Republican Party having continued control over of the house, defeating the Democrats 51-48.
“This defeat gives the Republican party control over all three branches of government, creating a unified government,” noted Stephen Chapman, an assistant professor of political science. “Usually when our government is unified more laws and bills are passed, but with a preference to the party in charge.”
Most senators were able to uphold their positions, but there are seven new intriguing senators who make up the 2017 freshmen class.
Catherine Cortez Masto was the victorious Democratic nominee for Nevada. Not only is she the first women to ever represent Nevada in the Senate, she is also the very first Latina women to ever be a part of the Senate. Masto was a former attorney general, and was personally picked by Harry Reid to replace his position in the Senate. Her campaign was based off numerous traditional Democratic proposals which include, raising the minimum wage, and the protection of Social Security and Medicare.
Before representing Indiana in the Senate, Todd Young was a former Marine and was also the U.S. Representative for the state’s 9th congressional district. Young gained popularity during his campaigning when he accused his opponent Evan Bayh of leaving Indiana for self-interest and working for a Washington law and lobbying firm, instead of seeking re-election in 2010.
Democrat Tammy Duckworth led the most recent polls before the election by double digits, and so it was of little surprise when she won the election, making her Illinois’ Senator. During the campaign, she advocated for tuition-free community college vocational training. Duckworth was a former congresswomen, and a veteran who grievously lost both legs while in Iraq in 2004.
Representing New Hampshire in the Senate, Democrat Maggie Hassan is notorious for her efforts in stabilizing the price of college tuition within New Hampshire. She is also a strong advocate for autism, and was quoted saying that she would “ensure that children like her son Ben, who experiences severe disabilities, would be fully included in their communities and have the same opportunities that all parents want for their children.”
Being the son of former U.S. Ambassador and CIA Agent, it was more than evident that Chris Van Hollen would someday uphold a position in government. The Maryland democrat was born in Pakistan while his father was serving in the foreign service. Before he became a U.S. Senator, Van Hollen was the U.S Representative for Maryland’s 8th congressional district, and was the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
Louisiana Republican John Kennedy unsuccessfully ran twice for the Senate seat before his victorious win this past election. Kennedy, a former Democrat, served as Louisiana’s state treasurer previous to his term as U.S. Senator.
Well known for her negotiations with California bankers over illegal mortgage practices, Kamala Harris is the first Indian American and biracial women ever elected to the Senate. Harris is an advocate for criminal justice reform, speaking openly about keeping low-level offenders out of jail and calling attention to the war on drugs. The California Democrat also played an important role in the battle for marriage equality.
When asked how she felt about the new editions to the U.S Senate, an education student, Madelyn Solano, said “Women are underrepresented in the Senate, barely making up one-third of the establishment. Although I was hoping for a change this past election, I believe those who were elected would add a bit of diversity to our Senate and would serve as assets”.
A marine biology student, Maya Paco expressed her attitude on the topic and said, “We should pay more attention to our senators and the work that they do. After all, they are the ones who vote on political measure and motions. People forget that our government is made up of more than just our president.”
Little things make big differences. Our 2017 freshmen senate class may only be made up of seven Senators, but don’t be fooled, these new editions have the potential to make a great impact in our nation’s politics.
IMAGE TAKEN from marieclare.com