Diversity in Recent Local Elections
By Jailynne Estevez '21
On November 7th, 2017, a set of local elections took place across the United States. These elections seemed to be the most inclusive, demonstrated through a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse set of candidates, creating a pushback against the current Trump administration.
“Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry, and to end the politics that have torn this country apart,” stated Ralph S. Northam, Virginia's new Governor-elect. The state of Virginia, despite the occurrence of the Charlottesville riots by white supremacists in the summer of 2017, elected Danica Roem, the first openly transgender female to serve as a state representative, to the Virginia legislature. Charlotte, North Carolina elected their first African American woman mayor: Vi Lyles. The city Hoboken of New Jersey elected their first Sikh mayor: Ravi Bhalla. In Helena, Montana, Liberian refugee Wilmot Collins became the state's first African American mayor. The list consists of other candidates, to name a few:
Andrea Jenkins: African American transgender activist elected to the Minneapolis City Council
Mark Keam: Korean-American Democrat reelected to the Virginia House of Delegates
Justin Fairfax: winner of the lieutenant governor's race in Virginia and second African-American to be elected
Jenny Durkan: Seattle's first openly lesbian mayor and the city's first female mayor since the 1920’s
Michelle De La Isla: newly elected mayor of Topeka, Kansas, and single mother of three
Hala Ayala: one of the first Latinas in the Virginia General Assembly
These elections are an onset of what to look forward to in the forthcoming 2020 midterm elections. They raise the question of how the Democrats and the public at large will advocate for a more inclusive political climate against the backdrop of the dominant election narrative.