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January 3rd, 2013
08:01 PM ET

Meet the 113th Congress: More diverse than ever

By Jim Acosta, CNN National Political Correspondent

Washington (CNN) - The newly sworn-in 113th Congress is the most diverse group of representatives in history, reflecting changing demographics and changing public attitudes.

The New America: What the election teaches us about ourselves

98 women, 43 African-Americans, 31 Latinos, 12 Asian-American and Pacific Islanders, and seven gay and bisexual members are now new members of the House and Senate. Plus, there is the first Buddhist member in the Senate and Hindu member in the House of Representatives.

“It means that we reflect America more,” said newly elected Rep. Tammy Duckwork, an Illinois Democrat. “And it is good to see Congress starting to look more like the rest of America.”

Duckworth, a double-amputee veteran of the Iraq War, is one of the historic number of Asian-Americans elected and joins the record number of women inducted, along with new Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“Here is the first woman from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Warren said to cheers from her supporters.

And the new members are not the only ones making history. Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski will serve as the first female chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and Nancy Pelosi has returned to her role as that chamber’s Democratic leader.

But the diversity is not exclusive to the Democrats.

Republican Tim Scott became the first African-American from the South to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction, and Ted Cruz, who is Cuban-American, was elected to the Senate. Both were supported by the Tea Party.

“It is an incredible day and a testament to the power of the grass roots and the power of the people,” Cruz told CNN.

There is also more representation of the gay and lesbian community in the Congress.

Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin was sworn-in as the first openly gay U.S. Senator. On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) is the first openly bi-sexual member of the House.

By the numbers: 113th Congress

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Asian in America • Black in America • Disabilities • Diversity • History • Politics • Who we are • Women
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. Milo Bloom

    The nation's first female native American was sworn in yesterday. No mention of that. Why?

    January 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. aspblom

    The diversity shows up in their inability to get things done.

    January 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. palintwit

    Any member of the house or the senate born south of the Mason-Dixon line should be forced to resign.

    January 4, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Key West Atrocities

    What, no transgender reps?

    January 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. thepriest

    This country is going to hell quickly. Why does it always have to turn into a racial issue? Whites are going to be ran out of this country that they founded.

    January 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerome Horowitz

      Yup, they am.....

      January 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • bufkus

      hahahahaha

      January 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raul

      Yes whites founded this country on the basis that "All men are created equal" and are free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. So when whites are surpassed in numbers those same values are what we (minorities – soon to be majorities) will fight to uphold for everyone. I came to this country with the belief that I will be treated fairly and be given equal opportunity. I bought into the whole idea of AMERICA – The land of the Free. I have served and retired from the US Armed Forces. I would gladly bleed to keep the stripes RED. I don't believe this country is getting worse. On the contrary...I believe it is finally living up to its creed. This is my country. The land that I love.

      January 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • GaryOh

      Some would say that the whites stole the country from the native americans.

      January 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Noracism in America from this day forward

    Look Mr. Racist white dude, and Racist Black woman Black men are going to date white women no matter what you do or what you say. You can smash the world and leave 8 people left and thee will still be a white woman and black couple in the mix get over it. And yes I do believe that this is all racism is a bout, oh and by the way. Republicans use racist whites as puppets to pass crappy laws, to make it seem like blacks are the only ones getting raped.

    January 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John the Historian

    Republicans do not know that the 1950s are over. Maybe they can watch the movie Pleasantville. Why do they want a Leave it to Beaver world ? Abortion rights wil not be overturned and even if they were to be overturned just stock up on RU-486 or go to Canada or Mexico or Europe to get your legal abortion. Blacks, Hispanics, Women, Gays, and Asians now make up the majority of voters. Muslims ounumber Jews. What does the Republican party not understand.

    January 4, 2013 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. Vidyashanti

    THIS IS WELCOME NEWS. HOPE WE BUILD ON THIS TREND- MORE DIVERSE AND MORE EDUCATED SMART WOMEN.
    HOPEFULLY, THEY WILL DO BETTER THAN MEN'S CLUB FOR 200 YRS.

    January 4, 2013 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brewers_Fan7

    How is this news? Who cares what color the people we've elected to represent us are? Who cares what building they worship in or who they share their bed with? I don't, I just want decent people who are going to deal with the massive fiscal issues we face. I want people who understand more government isn't the answer, that the answer is people being allowed to live their lives as they choose.

    January 4, 2013 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chuck

    More diverse? thats the problem, there are no AMERICANS anymore, only "Groups"

    January 4, 2013 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Gideon

      I'm an american citizen and belong to a group. you are too, unless you're a native american indian, (real north americans) we're all americans.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Fenn

        Yes, but too many people put their special little group first and then consider themselves an American. It should be the other way around.

        January 4, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    Diverse or not, that picture is full of people who fail us when they are needed most. It's nice to see today that more and more groups of people have a voice and representation. Too bad we are all represented by complete morons

    January 4, 2013 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Flower

      Finally, a sound comment on the insane and diverse comments!

      January 4, 2013 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • sybaris

      However, the failings are led by the lingering old white men.

      January 4, 2013 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Fenn

      You have it exactly right. These people do not begin to represent what the American people want.

      January 4, 2013 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. 3rdEyeOpened

    They may be more diverse than ever before, but that doesn't make them any less agenda driven and corrupt than they already are.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    Wow! You're an incredibly out-of-touch, extraordinarily hateful person!

    January 4, 2013 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. jdub87

    It comes down to two things: overcoming discrimination and building a network of support. The first is relatively easy. Minority groups haven't faced wide-spread discrimination for decades, just in pockets. However, building a network of support takes several decades to ensure that people grow up in not only a community but a culture that fosters ambitions like running for congress.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rick

    Get rid of the two party system. It doesn't work.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  16. Sebastian2

    Here's hoping that the new members 113th congress are more productive (and less obstructive) than their horrific predecessors. Sadly, the November election did not clean house as much as expected (shocking, considering the last congress' abysmal approval rating and all-time historic low of productivity).

    But, as always, one is allowed to hope....

    January 4, 2013 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • MODU

      It didn't clean out the Senate as well (which was just as obstructive). Remember, Reid sat on many pieces of legislation that Obama endorsed.

      January 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Seal Team Al[ha and Omega

    Push the GOP out of power and out of office. Then America will start to heal and grow once again.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • chad

      Hear hear. Let's have one-party Democrat rule for 50 years. Detroit has paved the way with that model, to serve as an inspiration to us all.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • DH

        True! And let's not forget Baltimore, Philly, Birmingham, Newark, Atlanta, Chicago etc. etc. etc. One more big flush and these cities will be forever lost. Diversity rules!

        January 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  18. xtra

    Put their pay raises and benefits to a public vote.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  19. Matthew

    What does your comment have to do with this article? Nothing.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  20. Mari

    More diverse than ever ... and more dysfunctional by the day. Limit terms and once out of the job, off the benefits wagon.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • someone

      Drop the cushy retirement as well.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      Exactly, you got it totally correct! The fact that we let these Democrat and Republican do-nothing morons remain in power for multiple terms spanning decades is shameful and embarrassing. They get so entrenched in power that they wouldn't know average America if it hit them in the face, which I'm sure most average Americans would love to do. I'm with you – maybe 2 Senate terms or 6 House terms max (12 total years), and then they should be back in their home state having to work for a living like everybody else. No lifetime benefits for years of doing nothing in Washington!

      January 4, 2013 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • nepabuleici

      Ridiculuos retirement of $300 a month to pay the gas for life like if you won a scrach.That's our life today..

      January 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  21. BubblesB

    Until the Republicans take back control of their party from the Tea Party and stop being the "mean party", they will continue to lose ground. The American people are tired of party politics in Washington and want Congress to consider the best interest of ALL Americans.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  22. Disanitnodicos

    The word "diversity" is a bell ringing. The public are dogs salivating.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  23. Timodeus

    I guess diversity doesn't bring unity, imagine that.

    January 4, 2013 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • someone

      Considering their ability to accomplish anything is going downhill at an increasingly higher rate, diversity obviously isn't helping anything except their image in their own minds.

      The general populous is disgusted with them.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
      • Tammy Lozano

        hahaha...you mean the general populous that voted them in..do you mean the general populous that will be even more diverse next election. that the one your talking about. Get ready for change

        January 4, 2013 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  24. Old Pogi

    I don't know how this new batch could do any worse then the ones they replaced.

    January 4, 2013 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  25. gcardenasv

    Diverse but equally corrupt as all those before them...nothing ever changes...just the faces.

    January 4, 2013 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
    • BubblesB

      Time for term limits.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
      • Tammy Lozano

        term limits.,...I agree lets increase the Presidency position now.. I would vote for that

        January 4, 2013 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  26. J.V.Hodgson

    Diverse? Be precise thats the duty of media. How diverse ethnically, politically,religiously all of the foregoing or none of the foregoing? Yep we have more women in there and I think that's a good thing they know a lot more about managing budgets than any tea partier whose policies would either get us into more debt or make Eurpoean or even Greek austerity measures look like childs play and for sure Increase unemployment levels.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  27. Ava

    Diversity is Boehner's blue eyes crying.
    The rest is Ship Of Fools.

    January 4, 2013 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  28. Adam A.

    I see a lot of people equating diversity with being liberal, or simply racial in its context; Yet diversity is a broad term used to quantify that of which is not the status-quot. For the first time certain minority groups are gaining representation within both parties. Also, California is the top state in terms of GDP, and is one of the most lucrative economies in the world. An agricultural and pop culture epicenter.

    January 4, 2013 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
    • bribarian

      California has cities going bankrupt.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Old Pogi

      Don't forget the part about California being broke. There was a discussion just last night about government offices having to close early. Some as early as 1:00 PM simply because of no money. The threat of bringing the state's legal system to a stand-still is on the horizon.

      January 4, 2013 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Rodd Tungren

      The California Dream has been over for decades. It's a cesspool now. Non-cultural epicenter.

      January 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Jay in Florida

    Diversity means bull. Talent is what defines a job position, not the color of skin. CNN is purely racist, choosing skin color over talent.

    January 4, 2013 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • skytag

      I see no rationale for your claim.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
    • PBonny

      Jay, how does talent define a job position? So, senator Cruz from texas is a senator today because of his talent in being ignorant about the economy? If talent is the only determinant of a job position most republicans should be jobless for lacking the talent to understand economics.

      January 4, 2013 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  30. bribarian

    diversity is not a strength

    January 4, 2013 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • bribarian

      Reality says it too.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
    • sybaris

      "Diverity is not a strength"

      Found on page 27 of the KKK Bible

      January 4, 2013 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  31. Ron

    Remember new representatives of Congress and The Senate, if you fall in line with the Republicans who want to destroy our country, You will only have a four year run, we will vote you out of office if you do not work for the people, That is your only job! It is what you were elected for!!!

    January 4, 2013 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • PG

      :facepalm:

      Why should they fear YOU? You obviously don't vote. You don't even know that Senators serve for 6 years, and Representatives for 2 years.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
      • Matthew

        PG, what can you expect from idiotic partisan zealots like the above poster? These Democratic and Republican ultra-wingers never let facts and reality get in the way of a good partisan jab!

        January 4, 2013 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
      • Tammy Lozano

        Mathew please.. zealots, fascist ect those words are over

        January 4, 2013 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Matthew

        Tammy Lozano, please. "Zealot" is a perfectly valid English word that, according to Merriam-Webster, means "a fanatical partisan." I don't know what ridiculous notion you have that a perfectly ordinary word can be "over," but, according to the dictionary definition, "zealot" is a more apt today as a description of American politicians than ever before.

        January 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  32. tekbit

    The only thing Wrong with being Right is when being Right is Wrong

    January 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  33. RA

    The media and academics notoriously leave out the word "ethnic" when using the term "diverse." Most diverse ever means most ethnically diverse ever. They do not mean, the most socioeconmically diverse ever, or most diverse in terms of political party representation. It's time for the media to be more specific with what they're referring to when they just use the word diverse to mean ethnically diverse.

    January 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • marsilius

      Saying "ethnic diversity" wouldn't cover the diversity of having more women in Congress as such, or the diversity of having more gays in Congress as such.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  34. Gonzo

    The most diverse.....And the most useless and incompetent. Who cares about the Congress' diversity if it can't get anything good done????

    January 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BubblesB

      It's good that Congress isn't totally all white, all male, all Christian, all straight. But, you are right, if they can't get anything done, so what?

      January 4, 2013 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Junior Samples

        It will turn into the Maury Povich show really quick!

        January 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Weesel71

    And the headline reads as if this is a good thing? Oh, this is CNN.com. I forgot.

    Diverse yes and totally disfunctional. Where you WANT your diversity is in the parts you can't measure: life experience, common sense, and devotion to duty.

    January 3, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • 'Pritka

      No, I don't want diversity there at all, I want all of them to have those qualities in common.

      January 4, 2013 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  36. America

    United We Stand Divided We Fall

    January 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • xtra

      As a country we are very divided.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
      • nepabuleici

        A Panera's waiter of Sarasota, Florida, told how we are divide in America: "Now, or you are rich, or your poor, forget about midled class in this country."

        January 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  37. texasnotea

    wow

    January 3, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Ava

    Most diverse, maybe. Most disconnected, absolutely.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Shalung

    What are...........5 years old ? It's hard to imagine a more childish post.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  40. southernwonder

    a judge in texas warned of civil war if obama is re-elected president. i am now so scared. how will obama handle this discontent? can we have some special quota for them? or can some of these minority elected congress people resign their positions in favor the mainstream americans?

    January 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  41. cma

    Wow, sknmrowley is a dinosaur. What a racist. If people want to become part of the GOP they will do so because they prefer those politics. Why would you include skin tone? Because you're a racist, that's why. AND.....you're a reason the GOP and Tea Party is declining.....dying, fossilizing, dinosaurs.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Haha, right on cma 🙂

      January 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Underpaid Profit

    Actions speak louder then Racial Diversity?

    January 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Randy, San Francisco

    This signals the beginning of the end for the GOP/Tea Party as we know it. Look at the California, less than 30% of the voters are registered Republicans. Democrats control both state houses and all statewide offices. Instead of reinventing itself, California Republicans deceived itself for many years that its policies resonated with a changing population.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shalung

      Yeah........California....great example !!! Demcrat dominated government (and always has been) going bankrupt while republican run states thrive. HELLO !!!! McFly !!!!

      January 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chuck88888

        Amen, Shalung!!

        January 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Natrldiver

        Typical thought process of a liberal to think that their way is ultimately better than any other. Look at all the Democratic controlled states. Most of them are of the social elite, hollywood stupid or social program dependent. That means California is at the top of the list. Most of the Conservative states are surviving and doing well. Too bad the left is too stupid to learn from their follies and too ignorant to to see what really works. Why else would states like Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma have sucessful governments that are more conservative across the board?

        January 4, 2013 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
      • kbob365

        Sorry, but as usual the Teajadists get their facts wrong. "Blue" states contribute far dollars to the federal government than they receive. "Red" states receive far more federal money than they contribute. The only exception is Texas, but that's only because the federal government's enormous subsidies to the oil industry don't get counted as federal dollars going to states. The rest of the red states are "takers" as well as haters.

        January 4, 2013 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
      • BubblesB

        You are forgetting that Arnold was the Republican governor and he left the state in the worst financial shape it has ever been in. Don't keep blaming the Democrats. There's enough blame to go around.

        January 4, 2013 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Junior Samples

        @kbob365 Doesn't sound like you've ever been to a "red state". Things are good there. Economy is strong, things are growing and progressing and as always the people are the nicest you will find anywhere. The hatred is coming from outsiders who know nothing of said states and who make huge undue generalizations of these states. They'll all be moving to these states soon enough to get a job.

        January 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • justin bieblet

        California was a sinking ship before arnold took the reigns.

        January 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |