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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 (22 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. Timodeus

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

    January 4, 2013 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. 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 |
  12. 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 |
  13. bribarian

    diversity is not a strength

    January 4, 2013 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. 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 |
  15. 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 |