Former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib has won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed for the House seat long held by former Rep. John Conyers, setting her up to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.
No Republicans or third-party candidates ran in Tuesday’s District 13 primary race, meaning Tlaib is set to win the seat in November’s election and begin serving a full two-year term in January. The special primary race to serve the last two months of Conyers’ term was still too close to call as of early Wednesday morning, with Tlaib and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones were neck and neck. The winner of that race will also run unopposed in November’s election.
Tlaib, 42, served in the Michigan House from 2009 until 2014. She defeated five other candidates to win the nomination to run for a full term representing the heavily Democratic district, which covers much of Detroit and some of its suburbs.
The 89-year-old Conyers was first elected to the House in 1964. He stepped down in December citing health reasons, though several former female staffers had accused him of sexual harassment.
“This is a huge victory for the Arab and Muslim American communities — it’s also a huge victory for the city of Detroit,” said Sally Howell, director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. “Rashida Tlaib brings forward the legacy of John Conyers in terms of the groundbreaking role he played in Congress and his commitment to civil rights.”
When Hollywood makes movies featuring female soldiers and sailors, those characters typically have some improbable combination of strength, intelligence, grace and courage. Throw in a quirky backstory – She studied theatre! She plays clarinet! – and you have the makings of a perfect, albeit unrealistic, female military action hero.
But these women do exist. America’s Navy is filled with them, and few have a more interesting story than Ensign Brianne “Brie” Coger, a 10-year Navy veteran who was one of just 12 female enlisted Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technicians in the entire fleet before earning her commission in 2018.
EODs are part of the Navy’s elite Special Warfare community. This is the territory of Navy SEALs – exceptional men and women who have the intelligence, physical fitness, and drive to rise to the top. It’s work that demands a state of mind marked by extreme courage and capability under fire.
Coger grew up in Staten Island, New York. She excelled in sports, particularly swimming, and still holds some swimming records at her high school. A talented musician, she also played clarinet with the school orchestra and marching band. Later, at the University of Miami (Fla.), she studied theater and dreamed of becoming a Hollywood stunt woman.
Coger spent two challenging years after college working odd jobs back home in New York, trying to pursue an acting career. When the opportunities fizzled, Coger looked for a different kind of challenge and found it in the Navy.
“What I love about EOD is that there is no typical day,” she said. “Whether we’re going out to do some diving and an underwater detonation, or we have to go to a remote location in the mountains to do some IED training, or just working a chemical or biological problem in a laboratory situation – there’s nothing typical about any of that, and that’s exactly what I needed in my life.”
EODs are the world’s ultimate bomb squad, trained to disarm conventional bombs, mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and chemical – even nuclear – weapons. They perform some of the most harrowing, dangerous work on earth to keep others from harm’s way — but that was precisely what appealed to Coger.
“I was really drawn to EOD because I wanted to be part of a protective force,” she said. “You still get to do all the cool stuff, but an EOD doesn’t go out and cause trouble; they’re there to make the situation better. That really spoke to me.”
Coger says she’s never felt that her gender was an issue in her Navy career. In fact, she has enjoyed tremendous success in a relatively short time, rising to chief petty officer – a senior enlisted rate – in just eight years before being selected for officer training in 2017. After more than a decade as an enlisted Sailor, Coger earned her commission in 2018 after completing Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. Coger has since graduated from the exclusive Navy Dive School in Florida and is now in San Diego getting ready to deploy. Her first assignment as a new officer? Leading a platoon of EOD Techs – the same people she worked with as an enlisted sailor.
“People think that joining the military means giving up things, but I’ve never seen it like that,” she said. “You aren’t losing something; you are gaining opportunities. The biggest thing that has helped me in my career is saying yes; embracing whatever’s out there and keeping my eyes and ears open to what’s possible.”
Capt. Rosemary Mariner, one of the first female fighter jet pilots, died last week of ovarian cancer.
For the first time in military history, the Navy is deploying a ceremonial flyover with only female jet pilots to honor the death of retired Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the Navy’s first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet.
The flyover will take place during Mariner’s funeral service in Maynardville, Tennessee, on Saturday. The aeronautic display is known as a missing man flyover traditionally held in honor of pilots or military personnel.
Mariner, 65, died Jan. 24 after a five-year fight against ovarian cancer.
An aeronautics graduate of Purdue University, Mariner joined the Navy in 1973 after being one of eight of the first women to be admitted into military pilot training. During her military career, Mariner made history as the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet ― specifically an A-4C and A-7E, according to her obituary ― and the first woman to command a military aviation squadron.
She earned a master’s in national security strategy from the National War College in Washington, D.C., and went on to serve in the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Her obituary noted that Mariner was grateful to the pioneers who paved the way for her career to flourish.
“My role models were African-American men who had led the vanguard in integration of race in the armed forces and studied many of the lessons that they had to pass on,” Mariner once said, according to NPR.
Senator Kamala Harris, the California Democrat and barrier-breaking prosecutor who became the second black woman to serve in the United States Senate, declared her candidacy for president on Monday, joining an increasingly crowded and diverse field in what promises to be a wide-open nomination process.
In addition, Ms. Harris will hold her first campaign event on Friday in South Carolina, where black voters are the dominant force in the Democratic primary, rather than start off by visiting Iowa and New Hampshire, the two predominantly white states that hold their nomination contests first. She will hold a kickoff rally Sunday in Oakland, Calif., her hometown.
Ms. Harris made her announcement on “Good Morning America” and also released a video aimed at supporters and other Democrats.
“The future of our country depends on you, and millions of others, lifting our voices to fight for our American values,” Ms. Harris said in the video. She also debuted a campaign slogan that played off her background as a prosecutor: “Kamala Harris, for the people.”
On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out a picture of her and other incoming women legislators with the phrase “Si, se puede,” (Yes, we can), the words that were coined by labor activist and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta and then immortalized by President Barack Obama during his campaign.
Another women in the picture is Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, one of two Latinas who are the first to represent Texas in Congress.
Escobar takes the place of Beto O’Rourke, also a Democrat, in representing Texas’ 16th Congressional District, which includes the heavily Latino border area of El Paso. She was previously a county commissioner and county judge.
On Twitter, Escobar took on Trump’s insistence on $5 billion for a border wall — which has led to the current government shutdown — by writing that “the border has never been more secure” and “immigration is lower today than it was a decade ago.” Escobar instead argued for the need to work with Central American countries to address the root causes of migration.
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The 32-year-old registered nurse is one of three Democrats from Illinois sworn in to the House on Thursday.
Lauren Underwood, a Democrat from Naperville, Illinois, became the youngest black woman in history to be sworn in to the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon.
Underwood, 32, a registered nurse with two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University, began her political career as a policy professional in the Obama administration in 2014. Two years later, she became a senior adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services where she worked to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Underwood announced her candidacy in Illinois’s 14th Congressional District in August 2017 on a platform of expanding job opportunities, investing in infrastructure and improving the ACA. She defeated the incumbent Republican, Randy Hultgren, in the Nov. 6 election, garnering 52.5 percent of the vote.
“Are you excited to make history?,” Underwood was asked Thursday afternoon as she posed for pictures on her way to the Capitol.
“A moment in history,” Underwood responded, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Underwood is one of the three Illinois Democrats who were sworn into the House on Thursday; the other two are Sean Casten and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Her appointment means that Democrats now have a 13-5 advantage over Republicans in Illinois’ House delegation.
For her, losing was never an option.
“I learned to be a black woman in this community,” Underwood toldThe New York Times in July. “This is my home, and the idea that I might not be a good fit is an idea I never gave a lot of consideration to.”
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This “hidden figure” is finally getting her due praise.
A “hidden figure” in the development of GPS technology has officially been honored for her work.Mathematician Dr. Gladys West was recognized for doing the computing responsible for creating the Geographical Positioning System, more commonly referred to as the GPS.
On December 6, the 87-year-old woman was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame by the United States Air Force during a ceremony at the Pentagon.
The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority member, born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, earned a full scholarship to Virginia State University after graduating high school at the top of her class. Gwen James, her sorority sister, told The Associated Press she discovered her longtime friend’s achievements when she was compiling a bio for senior members of the group.
“GPS has changed the lives of everyone forever,” James said. “There is not a segment of this global society — military, auto industry, cell phone industry, social media, parents, NASA, etc. — that does not utilize the Global Positioning System.”
Dr. West spent 42 years working on the naval base at Dahlgren, Virginia. During this time, she was one of the few women hired by the military to do advanced technological work. During the early 1960s, she was commissioned by the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory to support research around Pluto’s motion. From the mid-1970s to the 1980s, her computing work on a geodetic Earth model led to what became the first GPS orbit.
“This involved planning and executing several highly complex computer algorithms which have to analyze an enormous amount of data,” Ralph Neiman, her supervisor who recommended her for commendation in 1979, said. “You have used your knowledge of computer applications to accomplish this in an efficient and timely manner.”
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When Jim Theres first read about the “Hello Girls” of World War I, he knew the story of America’s first female Soldiers needed to be told on the silver screen.
So the Veterans Affairs employee set out on his own time to produce and direct an award-winning documentary, “The Hello Girls: The Army’s Special Weapon in World War I.”
The film was shown Saturday as part of activities surrounding the grand re-opening of the Army Women’s Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia.
Prior to that, the film won best documentary feature last month at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Broadcast journalist Cokie Roberts also introduced the film Oct. 8 at the Washington Convention Center during the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.
“I had never heard of the ‘Hello Girls’ and I write women’s history,” Roberts said. “That shouldn’t be.”
In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France as telephone operators for the American Expeditionary Forces. They donned Army uniforms and swore an oath of allegiance. They often operated near the front lines, connecting calls between trenches, and they endured artillery barrages. Two of them died and were buried in France.
Yet, when the rest of the women returned to the states, they were told they were not eligible for veteran’s benefits, until an act of Congress changed that in 1977.
Now their story has finally been fully documented.
Theres had already produced one documentary film when he decided in May 2017 the time was right to look for a World War I story because the 100th anniversary of America’s participation in the war was coming up.
“I Googled by accident … I meant to do World War I men, but I accidentally typed World War I women and I looked at the screen.” A webpage popped up about Elizabeth Cobbs’ book published last year: “The Hello Girls — America’s First Women Soldiers.”
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Heavy rains on Tuesday didn’t stop voters from showing up at the polls and assuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of her congressional victory.
At 29, she will become the U.S.House’s youngest member of Congress.
“Rain is hard for turnout, sometimes people literally decide not to vote because is raining. Don’t do that,” said Ocasio-Cortez during Cosmopolitan’s Instagram-takeover on Election Day.
The newly-elected Congresswoman won on Tuesday night against her Republican opponent Anthony Pappas in New York’s 14th congressional district, which includes parts of Queens and The Bronx and it’s considered a safe Democratic district. “As the Congresswoman for New York’s 14th district, my job would be to basically commute between The Bronx and Queens and Washington D.C. to really write and pass the laws that would really govern this land,” said Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday morning during a radio interview with the New York-based station HOT 97.
Ocasio-Cortez first made national headlines back in June when she won her district’s House primary against Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley with a proudly progressive platform to address issues surrounding immigration, healthcare, education.
“We’re really fighting for a working class agenda. We’re fighting for universal healthcare. We’re fighting for tuition free colleges and universities. A 100 percent renewable energy, this is what — not just what our district needs — but what the city needs and what the country needs,” Ocasio-Cortez told HOT 97.
The 29-year-old first-time candidate of Puerto Rican heritage represents a district that is 46 percent Latino, 24.6 percent white, 16.4 Asian, and 11 percent black.
For those of you in the messy middle, not only are you overcoming cultural and systemic barriers every day as you rise up into leadership positions, but you are also helping to level the playing field for the next generation by being a role model. This isn’t about men versus women or boys versus girls. When we achieve equality,everyone wins. Gender equality isn’t a female issue; it’s a social and economic imperative. In fact, as much as $28 trillion dollars could be added to the global GDP if we reach full gender equality by 2025. On International Day of the Girl, here are three solutions for change to advance equality.
Mentorship doesn’t have to be formal—you can lead by example and share advice in the moment regardless of position or level. In honor of International Day of the Girl, The Female Quotient partnered with Plan International USA to bring young mentees into some of the world’s leading companies, such as NBCUniversal, Facebook, Viacom and Google. By shadowing strong female mentors there, girls see that they too can become leaders, and learn the skills they need to become one.
Be intentional about the media you consume. Media helps shape culture and how we see ourselves, yet equality is far from reality in Hollywood. You as a consumer can do your part to help support women, both in front of and behind the camera. It may sound too good to be true, but watching your favorite movies and shows can help advance equality if you mindfully choose media created by female directors and writers, as well as stories featuring strong female leads. Show up at the box office for films directed by women such as the upcoming “On the Basis of Sex” by Mimi Leder or “Mary Queen of Scots” by Josie Rourke. Check out projects done by Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine, which finances films created by women. Let’s support the creation of media that will help girls dream bigger for themselves.
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Georgia Democrats selected the first black woman to be a major party nominee for governor in the United States on Tuesday, choosing Stacey Abrams, a liberal former State House leader, who will test just how much the state’s traditionally conservative politics are shifting.
By handily defeating Stacey Evans, also a former state legislator, Ms. Abrams also became Georgia’s first black nominee for governor, a prize that has eluded earlier generations of African-American candidates in the state. The general election is sure to draw intense national attention as Georgia voters determine whether a black woman can win in the Deep South, a region that has not had an African-American governor since Reconstruction.
She will face either Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the top Republican vote getter Tuesday, or Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Mr. Cagle and Mr. Kemp will vie for their party’s nomination in a July runoff.
Ms. Abrams’s victory, confirmed by The Associated Press, came on the latest 2018 primary night to see Democratic women finding success, as voters in Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas also went to the polls. Among the winners was Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, who upset Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington in a House primary in Kentucky.
But it was the breakthrough of Ms. Abrams that drew the most notice. A 44-year-old Yale Law School graduate who has mixed a municipal career in Atlanta and statehouse politics with running a small business and writing a series of romance novels under a nom de plume, she is now a central character in the midterm elections and the Democratic Party’s quest to define itself.
In a Facebook post declaring victory Tuesday night, Ms. Abrams, who won more than 75 percent of the vote, acknowledged the general election would be tough and cast herself as the candidate representing “the Georgia of tomorrow.”
Speaking later to a throng of supporters at a downtown Atlanta hotel, Ms. Abrams did not directly invoke her barrier-breaking nomination but held up her candidacy as a sign of the state’s progress.
“We are writing the next chapter of Georgia’s history, where no one is unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired,” she said.