Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley has become Massachusetts’s first black woman elected to the US House of Representatives.
The 44-year-old Pressley surprised America in September when she defeated 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano to win the primary for Massachusetts’s Seventh Congressional District. It marked a major win for Democratic candidates of color, especially black women.
And because there was no Republican challenger, Pressley took the seat easily.
Pressley long argued that her race and gender were not the only qualities that set her apart from her primary competitor; her life experiences also play a big role. Pressley says her personal background is key for a leader in her district, which has a large nonwhite population and struggles with economic inequality — arguing that “the people closest to the pain should be closest to the power.” She’s also openly talked about being a survivor of sexual abuse and being raised by her mother while her father was incarcerated.