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Firsts in Congress, Among Members of Color -- PICTURES Firsts in Congress, Among Members of Color -- PICTURES

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The Next America - Politics 2012 / 113th Congress

Firsts in Congress, Among Members of Color -- PICTURES

January 3, 2013

Among the members of color taking the oath of office for the 113th Congress, several representatives and two senators have accolades worthy noting. Many are first-generation Americans, but others stand alone among their colleagues. Take a look.

REP. TONY CARDENAS, D, CA-29. Age: 49. One of 11 children born in California to immigrant Mexican farm workers, he is the first Latino to represent the San Fernando Valley.(Courtesy of the Tony Cardenas Campaign)

SEN. RAFAEL “TED” CRUZ, R, TEXAS. Age: 42. First-generation Cuban-American born in Canada (his father fought to overthrow the Batistas); first Hispanic to serve as Texas’ solicitor general (at age 32 he was the nation’s youngest to hold such a post); first Hispanic to clerk for a chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, D, IL-8. Age: 44. Born in Thailand to a Thai mother and Vietnam veteran father, she lived in Singapore and Indonesia until moving to Hawaii at age 16. She joins Tulsi Gabbard, HI-2, as one of the first female combat veterans. She also was the nation’s first double amputee for injuries sustained in the Iraq war.(Ralf-Finn Hestoft)

 

REP. TULSI GABBARD, D, HI-2. Age: 31. First American Samoan and first Hindu member of Congress, joining Tammy Duckworth as one of the first female combat veterans in Congress. At age 21, she became the youngest ever to serve as a representative to a state house.(Courtesy of the Tulsi Gabbard Campaign)

REP. JOSE “JOE” GARCIA, D, FL-26. Age: 49. Son of Cuban exiles born in Miami Beach.(Courtesy of the Joe Garcia Campaign)

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO, D, HAWAII. Age: 65. As a congresswoman, she was the first Asian to serve in the House; in 2006 she was one of two Buddhists in the House. She now is the first Buddhist senator.(Almanac of American Politics)

 

REP. STEVE HORSFORD, D, NV-4. Age: 39. First African-American from Nevada elected to Congress.

REP. GRACE MENG, D, NY-6. Age: 37. First Asian-American born to Taiwanese immigrants, to represent New York City in Congress.(Campaign photo)

REP. RAUL RUIZ, D, VA-36. Age: 40. Born in the Coachella Valley to Mexican immigrants, he is believed to be the first Hispanic to earn three degrees from Harvard (M.D., and master’s degrees in public health and public policy).

 

REP. MARK TAKANO, D, CA-41. Age: 52. First openly gay person of color to hold a seat in Congress.

REP. JUAN VARGAS, D, CA-51. Age: 51. Third of 10 children born to Mexican Braceros on an egg ranch in National City, Calif. He briefly was a Jesuit novitiate but later went to Harvard, where he was in law school with Barack Obama.(Hand Out Photo)

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