Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia made history on Tuesday night after their respective groundbreaking wins led them to become the first Latinas from Texas to represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Although Latinos make up nearly 40 percent of the state’s population, Texans had never elected any Hispanic women to Congress.
Once she’s sworn in next year, Escobar takes the place of Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke and represent constituents in Texas’ 16th congressional district which includes El Paso, where she served as a county commissioner and county judge for seven years.
She told NBC News last September that her campaign has, in part, been about pushing back against dark times.
“This election for me is not just about getting out the vote and defeating my opponents,” Escobar said during a press call organized by Emily’s List, a political action committee that helps elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office and endorsed her candidacy last year. “We want to send a very powerful message to Washington, D.C. that the border [community] will not sit on the sidelines during an era of unprecedented racism.”
State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, who is also a former city controller in Houston, won her race against Republican Phillip Aronoff and Libertarian Cullen Burns in Texas’ 29th congressional district, which includes Houston and Pasadena.
Before the election, Garcia had said on Twitter, “I’ve dedicated my life to my community and public service, and want to take my fight for working families, immigrant justice, women’s rights, and equity for all to Washington.”
Despite their historic wins on election night, Escobar and Garcia essentially secured their spots back in March after winning their House primaries in heavily Democratic and Latino districts. Escobar won her primary with 61.4 percent of the vote and Garcia won with 63.2 percent.
Both women were part of a record-breaking trend — over 200 women ran for Congress in 2018, surpassing 1992’s ‘Year of The Woman’ when 117 women ran for Congress.