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A Binder Full of 20 Women Senators

The 113th Congress will have 20 female senators, the most ever in US history.

The election on Tuesday of five new women to the U.S. Senate, four of them Democrats, means that the 113th Congress will have 20 female senators, the most ever in U.S. history.

There has been a steady increase in the number of women in the Senate, but this was expected to change this year when Republican Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Texas) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) retire.

Not happening! Instead, that number is increasing, and the women elected come from excitingly diverse backgrounds.

Meet The New Female Senators

Elizabeth Ann Warren, D-Massachusetts, a fierce consumer advocate, won easily over Senator Scott Brown. You may remember that Brown swept to an upset victory in a 2010 special election, winning the seat previously held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy. So now that loss is avenged. Warren is a high-profile Harvard Law professor and architect of the Wall Street reform package and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau passed by Congress in 2010. Now she has made history, as she becomes the first woman to represent Massachusetts in the US Senate.

Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, is a Tea Party favorite and state senator in Nebraska who defeated Democratic opponent and former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey to take this Senate seat from Democrats. Nebraska voters had previously elected Kerrey as governor and to two U.S. Senate terms, but he left the Senate in 2000 and moved to New York City, where he became president of The New School. He returned to Nebraska to run for office this year after Democratic Senator Ben Nelson retired. This one was not a huge surprise: Fischer, who criticized her opponent for spending the past decade in New York City, held a decisive lead for most of the election.

Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin made history on Tuesday night when she was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first openly lesbian, and first openly LGBT, member of the upper chamber.

As Care2′s Steve Williams writes:

Despite opponents attempting to smear her as a “radical lesbian” and her Republican rival Tommy Thompson aping his favorite talking point, “Tammy Baldwin is so liberal that even Nancy Pelosi has to turn left to talk to her,” Baldwin managed to secure a narrow victory over her rival.

Baldwin campaigned heavily on fiscal responsibility, job creation and health care. During her time as a Representative she has backed the Buffet rule and, among a number of other initiatives, called for higher tariffs on Chinese imports so as to promote American manufacturing. She also campaigned heavily for the Affordable Care Act and also supported improvements to veteran healthcare.

Democrat Mazie Hirono yesterday became Hawaii’s first female senator. She is also the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Senate. A woman who is friendly to LGBT rights, Hirono was running against Linda Lingle, the state’s governor, who has vetoed civil unions legislation. Earlier this year, Hirono captured the attention of the Net Roots National Conference as she recounted how her mother escaped an abusive husband in Japan and moved to Hawaii to start a new life with her children. The Hawaii seat opened up when Senator Daniel Akaka retired.

And last, but definitely not least:

Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota narrowly defeated her Republican opponent Rick Berg, with the results only emerging late on Wednesday afternoon.

From The Chicago Tribune:

Heitkamp prevailed by nearly 3,000 votes, or just under 1 percent, out of nearly 320,000 votes cast, according to unofficial state election returns.

Berg conceded the election to Heitkamp on Wednesday and thanked supporters. He said he did not expect the outcome to change with the final certification of the vote.

In addition, female senators re-elected were: Sens. Diane Feinstein, D-California, Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, and Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri.

Congratulations to our new women senators!

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