Democrat Lauren Underwood, 32, made history back in November when she became the youngest Black woman elected to Congress. The registered nurse of Naperville was sworn into office on Thursday, after her election victory in Illinois’ 14th District, which is overwhelmingly white.
On her way to the Capitol on Thursday, one reporter asked her “Are you excited to make history?”
“A moment in history,” Underwood responded reported the Chicago Tribune.
The 116th Congress was sworn into office on Dec. 4, 2019 with a record 127 women. Underwood said this diverse new class “is what I always hoped the United States Congress could always look like.”
Adding, “Diversity of thought, geographic diversity, age, race, gender, life experience are all great things that we each bring to this Congress of the United States, and I’m really proud to be part of a caucus where I’m not ‘the only.’ ”
Underwood graduated from the University of Michigan and John Hopkins University, and entered the political arena in 2010. She joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during former President Barack Obama’s administration, per nbc.com. According to her website, Underwood played a vital role in implementing the Affordable Care Act.
When she won the nomination for her party in March, she crushed six white male candidates. The congresswoman celebrated getting sworn in by posting on Twitter Thursday. “Here we go, #IL14!” she wrote.
In a follow up tweet she noted: “We need leaders with diverse experiences & skill sets—nurses, doctors, teachers, scientists, artists, caregivers, entrepreneurs, tradeswomen—at all levels of gov’t. Our experiences echo those of the majority of Americans; we should shape the policies that shape our country.”
On Wednesday, Rep. Underwood shared a video of her taking her first constituent call after moving into her office.
“Moving into my office today and answered my first constituent call from #IL14. Thanks for calling Brent from Montgomery!,” she captioned the clip.
“I have a two-year opportunity to make a real difference and represent the people of the 14th, and they have placed their faith in me,” Underwood said Thursday. “They’ve given us a chance. I have to prove myself, and we will, beginning on day one, where I’m leading an effort to reform this government.”
Rep. Barbara Jordan of Texas previously held the crown for being the youngest black woman to serve in Congress. She was sworn in at 36 in 1973, according to the History, Art & Archives site, per HuffPost. Jordan died in 1996.
— Lauren Underwood (@LaurenUnderwood) January 3, 2019