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Historic firsts in the US congressional race 2020

There’s been a number of historic firsts in the United States congressional race this year. Observers and analysts are of the view that while all eyes were on the race to the White House, history was being made around the country with a handful of historic firsts in the US elections for offices and ballot measures. Here’s a look at some of those historic feats:

North Carolina elects youngest member of Congress in modern history

At 25 years old, Madison Cawthorn will become the youngest member of Congress in modern history, according to US House records. CNN projects the Republican will beat Democrat Moe Davis for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District.

Cawthorn, a political newcomer and staunch conservative, pulled off a surprise primary victory over a candidate backed by President Donald Trump.

Cawthorn came under scrutiny over the summer for photos on his Instagram page that show him in 2017 visiting Adolf Hitler’s vacation house in Germany known as the “Eagle’s Nest.” The caption refers to Hitler as “the Fuhrer” and says that a visit to the site — a popular tourist destination documenting the horrors of the Nazi regime — had been on his “bucket list for awhile” and “did not disappoint.”

Oklahoma elects the first nonbinary state legislator in the US

Mauree Turner won her race for Oklahoma state House for District 88 on Tuesday, becoming the first nonbinary state legislator in US history and first Muslim lawmaker in Oklahoma.

Turner, 27, defeated Republican candidate Kelly Barlean to represent the district, winning about 71% of the votes, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board unofficial results. Her victory comes after beating incumbent Rep. Jason Dunnington in the district’s Democratic primary election in June.

Turner identifies as nonbinary, which the National Center for Transgender Equality defines as gender understood as neither male nor female.

New York elects America’s first Black member of Congress who identifies as gay

Ritchie Torres, a New York City Council member, won his US House race to represent the South Bronx, becoming the first black member of Congress who identifies as gay.

Torres, 32, overwhelmingly defeated Republican Patrick Delices in the district, one of the poorest and most Democratic in the country, after winning a 12-way Democratic primary in June.

“Tonight, we made history,” he tweeted. “It is the honor of a lifetime to represent the essential borough, the Bronx.”

Delaware elects the nation’s first transgender state senator

Democratic activist Sarah McBride will become the nation’s first person who publicly identifies as transgender to serve as a state senator, after winning Tuesday’s election in Delaware, CNN projects.

McBride, a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, overwhelmingly beat Republican candidate Steve Washington in Delaware’s 1st District, a heavily Democratic district that includes the city of Wilmington.

“I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too,” McBride tweeted Tuesday night.

New Mexico elects the first all-female congressional delegation – and they’re also women of color

Three New Mexico women won their districts making them the first all-female congressional delegation to represent a state.

Deb Haaland, one of the first Native American woman in Congress, was re-elected for her second term. Yvette Herell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, won her race for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District and Teresa Leger Fernandez won her race for the 3rd. Leger Fernandez is the first woman to hold her seat since its creation in 1983.

Missouri elects state’s first Black woman to Congress — and she’s a veteran Black Lives Matter activist

Cori Bush, a progressive community leader and veteran Black Lives Matter activist, won a US House seat in Missouri, becoming the state’s first Black woman to represent the state in Congress, according to CNN projections.

Bush, a nurse and a pastor, became an organizer and protest leader after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014.

“This is definitely a night to remember,” Bush said in a speech on Tuesday.

Arizona, New Jersey and South Dakota vote to legalize recreational marijuana

Voters have approved ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona and New Jersey, and both recreational and medical use in in South Dakota, CNN projects.

South Dakota will be the first state ever to approve medical and recreational marijuana measures at the same time.

Results have not yet been determined for Montana’s ballot questions on recreational marijuana and Mississippi’s medical marijuana measure.

The initiatives would only be the first step in the process, said John Hudak, deputy director at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in state and federal marijuana policy.

After voters approve the measures, he said, the state legislatures normally would need to set up regulatory structures within each state. Currently, 11 states have legalized full, adult marijuana use.

Oregon decriminalizes the possession of heroin, meth and other hard drugs

In a first in the nation, Oregon passed a ballot measure decriminalizing the possession of heroin, oxycodone, meth and other hard drugs. Instead of possible jail time, a person would be able to pay a $100 fine or enter addiction treatment.

On Tuesday the state also legalized the use of psilocybin mushrooms — the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms — for mental-health treatment.

The measure requires the Oregon Health Authority to allow licensed, regulated production and possession of psilocybin, exclusively for administration by licensed facilitators to clients.

Mississippi approves new state flag

Mississippi’s new state flag will feature the magnolia flower after the state in a historic move this summer parted with its decades-old banner that included a Confederate battle emblem.

Voters on Tuesday approved the “In God We Trust” magnolia design as the new state flag, CNN projected.

The state Legislature will now have to enact into law the new design as Mississippi’s official state flag during its next regular session in 2021. Mississippi was the last state in the country whose flag, which was adopted in 1894, included the Confederate emblem. (Source: cnn.com)

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