Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay politician elected to the US Senate on Tuesday night.
It was an historic election for the LGBT community but also for American women. According to CNN, Baldwin also became the first Wisconsin woman elected to the US senate.
Political commentator Sally Kohn said:
“This is a big day for gay women in America, and really, for all communities who aren’t the typical straight, white, wealthy men elected to Congress.”
Baldwin downplayed the historical significance of her election, however, saying that her campaign was about much more than being gay.
“You know, what I would say in terms of crashing through that glass ceiling is, you know, if you’re not in the room the conversation is about you. If you’re in the room, the conversation is with you. That does transform things. But as I said last night, I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference … And my campaign was about the struggle of the middle class, retirement security for seniors, doing right by our veterans when they return home from war. That Wisconsin selected me to face those challenges is historic. But I think it was much more about confronting the very significant challenges that our nation faces right now.”
Baldwin is the first openly gay politician to be elected to the US Senate, but she isn’t the first openly gay person to be active in politics. CNN reports that there are currently four openly gay House members.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Commission, said:
“For the LGBT person growing up in Wisconsin or anywhere across the country, seeing an openly gay woman who is able to rise up to become a senator in the U.S. Congress is an incredible role model.”
Baldwin said that the senate was becoming a more diverse place, which according to the new senator, is important because it reflects a changing America.
“I do think having a seat at the table matters. And I think that we will see a Senate that is more reflective of America. We’re certainly not there yet. But this will be a change that will move us forward and will have the life experience of more women in the United States Senate.”
Here’s a video of Tammy Baldwin’s speech last night.