Women of the CBC Biographies
Dr. Alma S. Adams has represented the 12th Congressional District of North Carolina since 2014 (13th Congress). After winning a special election, Congresswoman Adams was sworn in immediately as the 100th woman elected to Congress, the most in U.S. history. Before Congress, Dr. Adams served in the North Carolina General Assembly and the Greensboro City Council. Adams currently serves on the Committee on Financial Services, Committee on Education & Labor and the Committee on Agriculture. She holds several leadership roles: Assistant Whip for the Democratic Caucus, Chairwoman of the Committee on Education & Labor’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and Vice Chairwoman of the Committee on Agriculture. Representative Adams’s subcommittee assignments and Workforce Protections include Civil Rights and Human Services Committee on Education and Labor; Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations on Agriculture; and the Oversight and Investigations on Financial Services. Her signature legislative accomplishment in Congress is the enactment of H.R. 5363, the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, which permanently provides funding totaling $255 million a year for all Minority-Serving Institutions, including $85 million for HBCUs. Representative Adams has previously served on the Joint Economic Committee and in several leadership positions, including Vice Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee and Ranking Member of the Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulation. Adams earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Carolina A&T State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Art Education and Multicultural Education from The Ohio State University.
Congresswoman Karen Bass represents California’s 37th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She has served in Congress since 2011 (112th Congress). Congressmember Bass serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where she is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights. She also serves on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. Congressmember Bass has served on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations for as long as she’s served in Congress. As Chair of the Subcommittee, Congressmember Bass has acted to build coalitions and support economic growth and partnerships with the African Countries. Congressmember Bass also helped pass the Equality Act of 2020, which would provide consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment and housing. Before her tenure in Congress, Bass served as the 67th speaker of the California State Assembly, the first African American woman in that position. She graduated from California State Dominguez Hills and the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.
Congresswoman Joyce Beatty has represented Ohio’s Third Congressional District since 2013 (113th Congress – Present). Beatty serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and is a member of two Subcommittees: Housing and Insurance and Oversight and Investigations. She has introduced important legislation to end human trafficking. She has also introduced legislation to improve financial literacy and protect consumers’ credit. She recently introduced legislation to enable small businesses to purchase, rehabilitate, or operate affordable housing units. Before Congress, Beatty was Senior Vice President of Outreach and Engagement at The Ohio State University and a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for five terms. During her tenure in the Ohio House, she rose to become the first female Democratic House Leader in Ohio’s history. She spearheaded legislation requiring financial literacy in Ohio’s public school curriculum, expanded STEM education, and secured funds to help under- and uninsured women access to breast and cervical cancer treatment. Beatty earned a bachelor’s degree from Central State University and a master’s degree from Wright State University. She completed all requirements but her dissertation for a doctorate at the University of Cincinnati.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown represented Florida’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017 (103rd – 117th Congresses). Before her tenure in Congress, Rep. Brown served for ten years in the Florida House of Representatives and was a faculty member at several colleges and universities in Florida. Brown served on the Public Works and Transportation, Government Operations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. She retained her seat on Public Works and Transportation (later named Transportation and Infrastructure) for her entire career. Brown chaired the Transportation’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials during the 110th and 111th Congresses (2007 – 2011). Brown worked to bring federal programs to her Jacksonville district during her congressional career using her seats on the Transportation and Infrastructure and the Veterans’ Affairs Committees. Rep. Brown earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida Agricultural & Mining University She also received a master’s degree and an education specialist degree from the University of Florida and an honorary doctor of law degree from Edward Waters College.
Yvonne Brathwaite Burke
Congresswoman Yvonne Brathwaite Burke was representative of California’s 28th Congressional District from 1973 to 1979 (93rd – 95th Congresses). She was also the first African American woman elected to California’s House of Representatives. She was also the first female chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1976. Her committee assignments included the Interior and Insular Affairs, Public Works; Appropriation; Select Assassinations; and Select Beauty Shop Committees. She chaired the Select Beauty Shop Committee for the 94th and 95th Congresses. Before her tenure in Congress, Burke was the first African American woman to serve in the California State Assembly. She has fought for prison reform, improved childcare, equal opportunities for minorities and women, and education during her career. She has focused her efforts on improving the lives of children, encouraging economic development, and improving transportation in Los Angeles. Burke received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a law degree from the University of Southern California School of Law.
Congresswoman Bush represents Missouri’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first African American woman and first nurse to represent Missouri; the first woman to represent her district; the first activist from the Black Lives Matter movement elected to Congress. Bush has served her community for more than a decade as a nurse, clergy, and childcare worker. A relentless advocate for the unhoused community in St. Louis, Congresswoman Bush has spent years as a community organizer providing services and aid to her unhoused neighbors in her District. Bush captured national attention for her high-profile activism after sleeping on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for several days to protest a lapse in the federal eviction moratorium amid the coronavirus pandemic. She studied at Harris-Stowe State University before receiving a nursing degree from the Lutheran School of Nursing.
Julia M. Carson
Congresswoman Julia M. Carson represented the Seventh Congressional District of Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 until her death from lung cancer on December 15, 2007 (105th – 110th Congresses). She was the first woman and first African American to serve in the United States House of Representatives from Indianapolis. Her committee assignments included the Banking and Financial Services, Financial Services, Veterans’ Affairs, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. Rep. Carson was a leading advocate of legislation designed to end homelessness in the United States by addressing the housing, health, and income needs of people experiencing homelessness and families at risk of homelessness. Before her tenure in Congress, Rep. Carson served in the Indiana General Assembly and as a Center Township Trustee. She attended Martin University and Indiana University-Purdue University.
Shirley A. Chisholm
Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress. Chisholm was representative of New York’s 12th District from 1968-to 1982 (91st-97th Congresses). She served on the Education and Labor, Rules, and Veterans Affairs Committees. During her fifteen years in the House, Chisholm was known for her strong liberal views, including her opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and her advocacy of full-employment programs. She also earned praise for her efforts on behalf of Black colleges, compulsory education, and minimum wage. Chisholm co-founded the National Political Congress of Black Women in 1984 and worked vigorously for the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988. Chisholm was also the first African American woman to run for the presidency in 1972. Before her election to Congress, she worked as a teacher and school director and was elected as a delegate of the New York State Assembly in 1964. Chisholm has authored two books, Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973). She also served as Purington Chair at Massachusetts’ Mount Holyoke College, where she taught politics and women’s studies after serving in Congress. In 1985, Chisholm was a visiting scholar at Spelman College. In 1987, she retired from teaching. She received her bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and a master’s degree in elementary education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Donna M. Christian-Christensen
Congresswoman Donna M. Christian-Christensen was a delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 to 2015 (105th Congress – 113th Congress). Before her tenure in Congress, Christensen was an emergency room physician; a physician at a Clinic; a staff physician at the Maternal & Child Health Program; Medical Director of the Nesbitt Clinic in Frederiksted; Director of the Frederiksted Health Center; Director of Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning; Medical Director of the St. Croix Hospital and Territorial Assistant Commissioner of Health; and as the Acting Commissioner of Health. She also served as Democratic National Committeewoman and Vice-Chair of the Territorial Committee of the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands and on the Platform Committee of the Democratic National Committee. She is the first female physician in the history of the U.S. Congress, the first woman to represent an offshore territory, and the first woman delegate from the United States Virgin Islands. She served on the Resources, Small Business, and Homeland Security Committees. She was Chair of the Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, which oversees offshore territories and free associated states. She is the only African American on the Natural Resources Committee and a member of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. In Congress, she fought to increase access to health care. Notably, she strongly supported Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Christensen earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame and a medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.
Yvette D. Clarke
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has represented New York in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2007 (109th Congress). Before her election to the United States House of Representatives in 2006, Rep. Clarke was a New York City Council member. She was first elected to city service in 2001, succeeding former City Councilmember Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, making them the first mother-daughter succession in the history of the New York City Council. Clarke is Chair of the Homeland Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee, under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and is Vice-Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. She also serves on the Committee on Small Business and is active on the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access and the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce. In the 116th Congress, Clarke introduced landmark legislation, the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6). This legislation would give 2.5 million DREAMers, temporary protected status and deferred enforcement departure recipients a clear citizenship pathway. Congresswoman Clarke attended Oberlin College and was a recipient of the prestigious APPAH/Sloan Fellowship in Public Policy and Policy Analysis.
Congresswoman Eva Clayton served as a representative of North Carolina’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1992 to 2003 (102nd – 107th Congresses). She was the first African American woman to be elected to Congress from North Carolina. Her committee assignments included the Agriculture, Small Business, and Budget Committees. She also served as Co-chair of the House Democratic Policy Committee during the 104th Congress. Before her tenure in Congress, Rep. Clayton served as director of the University of North Carolina Health Manpower Development Programs and assistant secretary for community development with the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Community Development. She received a bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith University and a master’s degree from North Carolina Central University.
Bonnie Watson Coleman
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman has represented New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District since 2015 (114th Congress-Present). Her election to the House of Representatives makes her the first African American woman to represent New Jersey in Congress. Before Congress, Watson Coleman served in the New Jersey General Assembly. She was the first Black woman to serve as Majority Leader and the Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. Watson Coleman is a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Homeland Security Committee, where she serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security. She is a member of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC). Her mission is to advance policies that promote renewable energy and green-collar jobs, protect our nation’s natural environment, and address global climate change. In 2017, Watson Coleman introduced the Safer Pipelines Act to increase accountability for pipeline projects. This bill would amend and improve the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission review process for new pipeline projects and require a 5-year environmental monitoring process for all constructed projects. Watson Coleman is a graduate of Thomas Edison State College.
Congresswoman Barbara-Rose Collins represented Michigan’s 15th Congressional District from 1991 to 1997 (102nd – 104th Congresses). Her committee assignments included the Public Works and Transportation; Transportation and Infrastructure; Government Operations; Government Reform and Oversight; Post Office and Civil Service; Science, Space, and Technology; and the Select Children, Youth, and Families Committees. She chaired the Postal Operations and Services Subcommittee. In her hometown of Detroit, she has served as a public school board member, city council member, and member of the Michigan House of Representatives. She attended Wayne State University.
Congresswoman Cardiss Collins was representative of Illinois’ Seventh Congressional District from 1973 to 1997 (93rd – 104th Congresses) after winning a special election to succeed her late husband, George W. Collins. She served as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus during the 96th Congress. She served on the Government Operations; Government Reform and Oversight; Public Works; International Relations; Foreign Affairs; District of Columbia; Energy and Commerce; Commerce; Select Population; and Select Narcotics Abuse and Control Committees. Collins fought for diversity and gender equity in the communications and media industries. Her other legislative interests included health care, gender equity in college athletics, and reforming childcare. She attended Northwestern University.
Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the 118th U.S. House of Representatives. Congresswoman Crockett serves as Freshman Leadership Representative on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability and the House Committee on Agriculture. Before Congress, she served as a public defender, civil rights attorney, and State Representative. In addition to serving as Bowie County Democratic Party Chair, she also held various leadership positions within the legal community and is a former Dallas County Metrocare Services board member. Congresswoman Crockett earned her B.A. in Business Administration from Rhodes College and her J.D. from the University of Houston.
Valdez (Val) Demings
Congresswoman Val Demings has represented Florida’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2017 (115th Congress). Demings serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness; Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support), the House Judiciary Committee (Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security; Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law), and the House Committee on Homeland Security (Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security). She is Chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. In 2020, she broke another glass ceiling when she became one of the first women and Black Americans to prosecute a presidential impeachment before the U.S. Senate. Demings is a lifelong public servant, serving first as a social worker, then for 27 years with the Orlando Police Department (O.P.D.) before her election to Congress. She received a bachelor’s degree in criminology and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida State University.
Congresswoman Donna Edwards represented Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2008 to 2017. (110th – 114th Congresses). She was the first African American woman to represent Maryland. Before serving in Congress, Edwards was the executive director of the Arca Foundation in Washington, DC. She was appointed to the Science and Technology Committee (which was renamed Science, Space, and Technology in 2011). She served on two subcommittees: Space (where she later became a ranking member) and Environment. Edwards also had a seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and served on three subcommittees: Highways and Transit; Water Resources and Environment; and Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. She also served on the Ethics Committee. Edwards used her seat on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee to support funding for NASA and to give a boost to measures encouraging minority education in science and mathematics. Rep. Edwards earned a degree from Wake Forest University and received her Juris Doctor from the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly the Franklin Pierce Law Center).
Congresswoman Valerie Foushee represents the Fourth Congressional District of North Carolina in the 118th U.S. House of Representatives. Before Congress, Foushee worked as an administrator for the Chapel Hill police department and served 25 years as a local and state elected official. She served on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board, being the first African American woman elected to chair the Orange County Board of Commissioners, to serving in the North Carolina State House and the North Carolina State Senate. In Congress, Congresswoman Foushee serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
Congresswoman Marica Fudge represented Ohio’s 11th District Congressional District from 2008 to 2021 (110th -116th Congresses). She was elected in a special election upon the death of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Before her tenure in Congress, Rep. Fudge worked as a lawyer and in the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office as Director of Budget and Finance. She was the first woman and first African American to serve as mayor of the City of Warrensville Heights, Ohio. She was also the past National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In Congress, she served on the Committee on Agriculture, where she was the Chair of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations. She was also on the Committee on House Administration, where she was the Chair of the Subcommittee on Elections. She was also on the Committee on Education and Labor. She was the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. Fudge resigned from the House of Representatives after being confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on March 10, 2021. Fudge earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Ohio State University and a Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University.
Kamala D. Harris
Senator Kamala Devi Harris was elected to the United States Senate, representing California during the 115th Congress, from 2017 until January 18, 2021. Harris resigned from her Senate seat to become Vice President of the United States during the Biden Administration. Before her senate election, Harris was California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2016. She also served as deputy district attorney for Alameda County; managing attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; chief of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Children and Families; and district attorney of San Francisco. Harris earned her undergraduate degree from Howard University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Katie B. Hall
Congresswoman Katie B. Hall represented Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982 to 1985 (97th – 98th Congresses). Hall was the first African American from Indiana. Her committee assignments included the Post Office and Civil Service Committee and the Public Works and Transportation Committee. Hall was also a member of the Indiana State House of Representatives and the Indiana State Senate. She received a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi Valley State University and a master’s degree from Indiana University.
Jahana Hayes represents the Fifth Congressional District of Connecticut. Hayes was elected to the United States House of Representatives in November 2018, making her the first African American woman and the first African American Democrat ever to represent the state of Connecticut in Congress. She currently sits on the House Committees of Education and Labor and Agriculture. She is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations. Hayes first garnered widespread recognition while serving as a teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, when she was selected as the Connecticut Teacher of the Year, before earning the distinction of 2016 National Teacher of the Year N.T.O.Y.Y.). She is a graduate of Naugatuck Valley Community College, Southern Connecticut State University, the University of Saint Joseph and the University of Bridgeport, having earned a bachelor’s degree in history and Secondary Education, a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and a degree in Administrative Leadership.
Sheila Jackson Lee
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has represented the 18th Congressional District of Texas since 1995 (104th Congress). Before her career in Congress, Lee served as Staff Counsel for the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations, as a municipal judge for three years, and was an at-large member of the Houston City Council. Lee is a senior member of the House Committees on the Judiciary, Homeland Security and was newly appointed by the leadership as a Member of the Budget Committee. She is currently the first female Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee for Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. She leads the way in criminal justice reform through groundbreaking legislation, including the Sentencing Reform Act, Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, The RAISE Act, The Fair Chance for Youth Act, Kaleif’s Law, and the American RISING Act of 2015. She is the past Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee for Maritime and Border Security, wherein she co-authored HR 1417, a bipartisan bill that has been touted as the best vehicle for accomplishing comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congresswoman Jackson Lee is also the past Chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection. Under her leadership, she passed the Transportation Security Act of 2007, which increased America’s transportation security funding. Jackson Lee received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School.
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has represented the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993 (103rd Congress). She was the first African American to serve in the United States House of Representatives from the Dallas area. She is also the first nurse elected to the U.S. Congress. Before her tenure in Congress, Johnson served in the Texas State House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. She made history as the first woman in Texas to lead a major Texas House committee. She currently serves as Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and is a Senior Member of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Johnson is a member of the Science Committee (formerly Science, Space, and Technology) and was the first African American woman to chair that Committee. Rep. Johnson has been outspoken on several issues, including science, technology, transportation, election reform and civil rights. Congresswoman Johnson earned a nursing certificate from St. Mary’s College at the University of Notre Dame. She also earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University.
In 2018, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones won a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of longtime Representative John Conyers Jr. Although she was elected for the 115th Congress (2017–2019), Jones lost the general election for the 116th Congress (2019–2021) on the same day. Consequently, her term on Capitol Hill lasted only six weeks. Jones received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University.
Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones represented Ohio’s 11th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999 until she died on August 20, 2008 (106th Congress – 110th Congress). Jones was the first African American woman elected to the House from Ohio. Her committee assignments included the Banking and Financial Services (now named Financial Services), Small Business, Ways and Means, and Standards of Official Conduct Committees. She served as Chair of the Standards of Official Conduct Committee for the 110th Congress. Rep. Jones also served as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus’ Housing Task Force. She was a strong advocate for economic development, accessible health care and quality public education. Before her tenure as a U.S. Representative, she was County Prosecutor and a Common Pleas and Municipal Court Judge in Cleveland, Ohio. Congresswoman Jones earned a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.
Barbara C. Jordan
Congresswoman Barbara C. Jordan was representative of the 18th Congressional District of Texas from 1973 to 1979 (93rd – 95th Congresses). She was the first African American to represent Texas and the first African American woman to represent a southern state in the United States House of Representatives. Her committee assignments included the Judiciary and Government Operations Committees. A lawyer, Jordan also was a member of the Texas Senate, a delegate to two Texas State Democratic Conventions, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and a keynote speaker at the National Convention in 1976. After her service in Congress, she taught public policy at the University of Texas at Austin and served on the Commission on Immigration Reform. Jordan received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University. She also earned her law degree from Boston University School of Law.
Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove represents California’s 37th Congressional District. Before Congress, Kamlager-Dove spent her career advocating for communities and families. She served on the Los Angeles County Commission on Children and Families and was elected to the Los Angeles Community College Board. She also served in the California State Assembly and California State Senate in 2021. As a Freshman Member of Congress, she serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on Natural Resources. Congresswoman Kamlager-Dove graduated from the University of Southern California and earned a graduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University.
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick represented Michigan’s 13th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 through 2011 (105th – 111th Congresses). Kilpatrick’s committee assignments included the House Banking and Financial Services and House Oversight and Appropriations Committees, and the Joint Committee on the Library. Rep. Kilpatrick was selected as the first Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee during the 109th Congress and served as the Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus in the 110th Congress (2007 – 2009). She was also the first African American Member of Congress appointed to the United States Air Force Academy Board. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Kilpatrick played an essential role in determining funding for federal programs. Before her congressional tenure, Kilpatrick was a teacher and member of the Michigan State House of Representatives. She was the first African American woman to serve on the Michigan House Appropriations Committee. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan.
Rep. Robin Kelly has represented Illinois’ Second Congressional District since 2013. Kelly is Vice-Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and serves on the Health, Energy, and Consumer Protection and Commerce subcommittees. Her Energy and Commerce work is focused on expanding access to healthcare, consumer protection for American families and economic development. Additionally, she is a Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and serves on the national security and civil rights and civil liberties subcommittees. Representative Kelly is a Co-Chair of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce and is the author of The 2014 Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America, the first-ever Congressional analysis of the nation’s gun violence epidemic that offers a blueprint for ending the crisis. Before joining Congress, Rep. Kelly served as a State Representative in the Illinois Legislature, where she fought for landmark legislation to protect victims of domestic violence. While in the Legislature, Rep. Kelly was Chief Administrative Officer of Cook County. She was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the second-largest county in the nation. Kelly earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and master’s degree in Counseling from Bradley University. She later received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University.
Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence has represented Michigan’s 14th Congressional District since 2015 (114th Congress-Present). Before her tenure in Congress, Lawrence had an extensive career as a public servant, working for the U.S. Postal Service, as Mayor of the City of Southfield, President of the Southfield City Council, and on the Southfield Public School Board of Education. Lawrence is the Vice-Chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. She serves on the subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS), the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) and the subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG). She is also a member of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, where she serves on the subcommittee on Government Operations. Lawrence earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee has been representative of California’s Ninth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1998 (105th Congress). Before her tenure in Congress, Rep. Lee served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Ron Dellums. She also served in both the California State Assembly and California State Senate. Rep. Currently, Congresswoman Lee serves on the Budget Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal government spending. She serves on three subcommittees (Chair, State and Foreign Operations; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration) of the Appropriations Committee. In January 2021, she became the first African American to chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. Congresswoman Lee is the highest-ranking African American woman in Democratic Leadership, serving as Co-Chair of the Policy and Steering Committee. As Co-Chair, Rep. Lee works to ensure that committees reflect the diversity, dynamism, and integrity of the Democratic Caucus. Notably, Lee has played a significant role in the antiwar movement, notably in her vocal criticism of the Iraq War and, following the September 11 attacks, for being the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization of the use of force. Lee received a bachelor’s degree from Mills College and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley.
Congresswoman Summer Lee represents Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District in the 118th U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first Black woman ever elected to Congress from Western Pennsylvania. Before Congress, she worked as a labor organizer and served in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, becoming the first Black woman from Western Pennsylvania ever elected to the legislature. In Congress, Lee serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability and the House Committee on Space Science and Technology. Lee is a Pennsylvania State University and Howard University School of Law graduate.
Congresswoman Ludmya “Mia” Love represented Utah’s Fourth Congressional District from 2015 to 2019 (114th – 115th Congresses). She was the first African American elected to Congress from Utah and the first African American woman elected to Congress as a Republican. Love had been active in civic affairs when she served as the community spokesperson in Saratoga Springs and on the Saratoga Springs City Council before her election. In Congress, Love served on the House Financial Services Committee, the Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee, the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee and the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee. From her position on Financial Services, she pushed a bill that raised the lending limit for small banks; the proposal passed as part of a broader Senate bill that removed specific financial regulations. Love also served on the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives under the auspices of the Energy and Commerce Committee. After leaving Congress, she was a non-residential senior fellow at The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. She was appointed a fellow of the Institute of Politics and Public service at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Love recently joined the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University as the national outreach director. Love graduated from the University of Hartford with a bachelor of fine arts degree.
Denise L. Majette
Congresswoman Majette served as a representative of Georgia from January 7, 2003, to January 3, 2005 (108th Congress). She served on the Budget, Education and Workforce and Small Business Committees. A lawyer and professor, Majette served as a judge for the Georgia State Court for nearly ten years. Majette received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University and her law degree from Wake Forest Law School.
Congresswoman Lucy McBath has represented Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District since 2019 (116th Congress). McBath serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Education and Labor. She is also Vice-Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. One of her first legislative actions as a Member of Congress was co-sponsoring H.R.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in February 2019. Before Congress, McBath had a 30-year career as a flight attendant at Delta Airlines. Following the tragic death of her son, McBath dedicated her life to preventing gun violence, becoming the national spokesperson and faith and outreach leader for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. McBath earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia State University.
Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan represents Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District in the 118th U.S. House of Representatives. Before coming to Congress, McClellan worked as regulatory counsel for Verizon Communications and served in the Virginia State Senate and the Virginia House of Delegates. In Congress, she serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Science, Space, & Technology Committee. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Richmond and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick was elected to the 117th Congress, representing Florida’s 20th Congressional District. She serves on the House Committee(s) on Education and Labor and Veterans’ Affairs. Before Congress, she was Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of Operations for a home health care company. Cherfilus-McCormick earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Howard University and a Juris Doctor from the St. Thomas University School of Law.
Cynthia A. McKinney
Congresswoman Cynthia A. McKinney was representative of Georgia’s 4th Congressional District from 1993 to 2003 (103rd – 107th Congresses) and again during the 109th Congress (2005 – 2006). She was the first African American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives from Georgia. Her committee assignments included the Banking and Financial Services; Agriculture; Foreign Affairs; International Relations; National Security; Armed Forces; and Budget Committees. Rep. McKinney has been an outspoken advocate for human rights, voting rights and government accountability. Before her tenure in the United States House of Representatives, Rep. McKinney was a member of the Georgia State Legislature. She has also been a fellow and faculty member at several universities. Rep. McKinney received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Congresswoman Carrie Meek was representative of Florida’s 17th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003 (103rd – 107th Congresses). Her committee assignments included the Government Reform and Oversight, Budget, and Appropriations Committees. Meek is an educational administrator and educational consultant who was a member of the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida State Senate. She was also a board member of the Health System-Health Planning Council and the Minority Business Enterprise Committee on Transportation and Chair of the Park for People Program in Miami, Florida. Meek received a bachelor’s degree from Florida Agricultural & MIning University and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She is the mother of Congressman Kendrick Meek.
Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald served as a representative of California’s 37th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 until she died of cancer on April 22, 2007. Millender-McDonald was the first African American woman appointed Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration and served as committee chair during the first session of the 110th Congress. She also served on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Small Business Committees and the Joint Printing and Joint Library Committees, chairing both Joint Committees during the first session of the 110th Congress. In addition, she was Regional Democratic Whip and Co-Chair of the Democratic Caucus for Women. Rep. Millender-McDonald was active in many legislative areas, including education, childcare, drug abuse, and health. Before Congress, she was a member of the California State Assembly. Millender-McDonald was the first African American woman elected to the Carson City Council and became Carson City’s Mayor pro tem in 1991. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands and a master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore has served as a representative of Wisconsin’s Fourth Congressional District since 2005 (109th Congress). Before her tenure in Congress, Rep. Moore served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1989 to 1992 and in the State Senate from 1993 to 2003. She was also a housing officer with the Wisconsin Housing and Development Authority. Congresswoman Moore serves on the Ways and Means Committee. She is a member of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee, working to create a more fair and progressive tax code that provides Americans greater opportunity and financial security. And she oversees a range of critical supports for workers, children, and families as a member of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee and Social Security Subcommittee. She is also a House Science, Space, and Technology Committee member. She serves on the Research and Technology Subcommittee and the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee. She received her bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and earned a Harvard University Certificate for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.
Senator Carol Moseley-Braun was Senator from Illinois from 1993 to 1999 (103rd – 105th Congresses). While a Senator, she served on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Judiciary; Small Business; Finance; and Special Aging Committees. Before her tenure in the U.S. Congress, Sen. Moseley-Braun served in the Illinois House of Representatives and as a prosecutor in the office of the United States Attorney in Chicago. Later, Sen. Moseley-Braun was an Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. In 2004, she was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a law degree from University of Chicago School of Law.
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has been a delegate from the District of Columbia since January 3, 1991 (102nd Congress). Norton is the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit and serves on the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. She has also served on the Security, Post Office and Civil Service, Small Business, and District of Columbia Committees during her tenure. President Jimmy Carter named Rep. Norton as the first woman to chair the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Rep. Norton has fought tirelessly for full congressional voting representation of District of Columbia residents. She has also been an outspoken advocate for universal human rights. Before her tenure in Congress, Rep. Norton was a nationally known feminist, civil rights leader and law professor. She received a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College and earned law and master’s degrees from Yale University.
Congressman Ilhan Omar has represented Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019. Omar was the first African refugee to become a Member of Congress, the first woman of color to represent Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress. Congresswoman Omar is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She serves as the Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and the Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact. Omar also serves on the House Education and Labor Committee, where she is a member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development and the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. She is an experienced policy analyst, organizer, public speaker and advocate. Before running for office, she worked as a community educator at the University of Minnesota, was a Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and was a Senior Policy Aide for the Minneapolis City Council. In 2016 she was elected as the Minnesota House Representative for District 60B, making her the highest-elected Somali-American public official in the United States and the first Somali-American state legislator. She graduated from North Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies.
Stacey E. Plaskett
Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett has served the United States Virgin Islands’ at-large Congressional District since 2015 (114th Congress). She currently serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, House Committee on Budget, and the House Committee on Agriculture. She previously served as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. During her service on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Mrs. Plaskett worked to ensure that the federal government was responsive to the needs of Americans in disaster-stricken areas. As a former attorney in public finance law, Congresswoman Plaskett sees the importance of Public-Private Partnerships and created ways to incentivize economic development in underserved areas in America. Congresswoman Plaskett has a long history of public service. She began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx DA’s office. Plaskett worked as a political appointee at the Department of Justice, where she served as Senior Counsel under Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and his successor James Comey. In the Virgin Islands, she has served as General Counsel for the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority, charged with the economic development of the U.S. territory and has also worked in private practice as counsel and transactional attorney for numerous companies. Plaskett earned her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and her Juris Doctorate from American University’s Washington College of Law.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley represents Massachusetts’ Seventh Congressional District, making her the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Pressley has served since 2019 (16th Congress). She serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Before Congress, she was a community activist, working as a senior aide to Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, volunteering for Senator John Kerry’s reelection campaign, and working for Senator Kerry for 13 years in various roles, including constituency director and political director. Senator Kerry described Congresswoman Pressley as a “force” who “believed in public service.” In 2009, she launched a historic at-large campaign for Boston City Council and won, becoming the first woman of color elected to the Council in its 100-year history. Congresswoman Pressley attended Boston University.
Congresswoman Laura Richardson represented California’s 37th Congressional District California in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013 (110th Congress-112th Congress). Richardson set a record of distinction in having served all three levels of government, local, state, and federal in less than a year. Once elected, Richardson was assigned to serve on the influential Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Committee on Science and Technology. Congresswoman Richardson began her public service career in 2000 as a Long Beach City Councilwoman. In 2006, Richardson won a seat in the California Assembly in the 55th District, serving as Assistant Pro Tempore in the Assembly. She was the first South Bay representative, freshman, and African American woman to hold this prestigious position. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA from Southern California.
Lisa Blunt Rochester
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester has represented Delaware in Congress since 2017 (115th Congress). Rochester is the Assistant Whip for House Leadership. She currently serves as an Assistant Whip for House Leadership. She sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where she is the only former statewide health official on that committee. She previously served on the House Committee on Agriculture. In this role, she helped craft the 2018 Farm Bill, which is a five-year re-authorization that extends U.S. Department of Agriculture programs related to the farm safety net; nutrition programs that feed children, seniors, people with disabilities, and families who rely on the social support programs; land-grant and 1890 universities; and agriculture research. Before her congressional tenure, Rochester’s distinguished career included serving in the cabinets of two Delaware Governors, as CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, and Senior Executive Leadership and Systems Manager for the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Rochester is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a degree in International Relations and earned a master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware.
Terri A. Sewell
Congresswoman Terri Sewell has represented the Seventh district of Alabama since January 3, 2011 (112th Congress – Present). She is one of the first women elected to Congress from Alabama and is the first Black woman to ever serve in the Alabama Congressional delegation. Before her election in 2010, Congresswoman Sewell was the first Black woman partner in the Birmingham law office of Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C., where she distinguished herself as one of the only Black public finance lawyers in the State of Alabama. Congresswoman Sewell sits on the exclusive House Ways and Means Committee, where she serves on three subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Health; the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures; and the Subcommittee on Social Security. She is also Chief Deputy Democratic Whip and sits on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee. Congresswoman Sewell was honored that her first piece of successful legislation recognized the “Four Little Girls” who tragically lost their lives during the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow. The bill passed unanimously in both houses of Congress. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama on May 24, 2013, in a signing ceremony in the Oval Office to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the church bombing. She also served as the Democratic freshman class president and Senior Whip. Sewell graduated from Princeton University and received a master’s degree with first-class Honors from Oxford University. She received her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland represents Washington’s Tenth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Strickland is the first African American to represent Washington at the federal level and one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress in its 230-year history. Strickland serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Armed Services Committee. Before Congress, Strickland served as Mayor of Tacoma, Washington. Strickland earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Washington and an M.B.A. from Clark-Atlanta University.
Emilia Strong Sykes
Congresswoman Emilia Strong Sykes represents Ohio’s 13th Congressional District in the 118th U.S. House of Representatives. She became the first Black person elected as a district representative when elected. Before Congress, Sykes served as the State Representative for the Ohio House of Representatives. She was the minority leader. Congresswoman Sykes graduated from Kent State University and received a J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and a Master of Public Health from the College of Public Health and Health Professions.
Congresswoman Lauren Underwood has served Illinois’ 14th Congressional District since 2019 (116th Congress). and was the first woman, the first person of color, and the first millennial to represent her community in Congress. She is also the youngest African American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives. Underwood serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the House Committee on Appropriations. Congresswoman Underwood co-founded and co-chairs the Black Maternal Health Caucus, elevating the Black maternal health crisis within Congress and advancing policy solutions to improve maternal health outcomes and end disparities. Underwood also serves on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Before her election to Congress, she worked with a Medicaid plan. She was Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As a career public servant at H.H.S., she helped implement the Affordable Care Act — broadening access for those on Medicare, improving health care quality, and reforming private insurance. Underwood is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters has represented California in the U.S. House of Representatives since January 3, 1991 (102nd Congress). Waters made history as the first woman and first African American Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. A key figure in Congressional Democratic Leadership, Congresswoman Waters serves as a Steering & Policy Committee member. She is the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. As Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, Waters fought tirelessly to mitigate foreclosures and keep American families in their homes. Through two infusions of funds, the Congresswoman secured $6 billion for the program. Waters is also committed to improving health care. She is the author of legislation to expand health services for patients with cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Walters spearheaded the development of the Minority AIDS Initiative in 1998 to address the alarming spread of HIV/AIDS among African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities. Under her leadership, funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative has increased from the initial appropriation of $156 million in 1999 to approximately $400 million per year today. Before her tenure in Congress, she was a member of the California State Assembly. She has been an outspoken advocate for peace, justice and human rights. Congressman Waters received a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles.
Diane E. Watson
Congresswoman Watson served as representative of California’s 33rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001 to 2011 (107th – 111th Congress). Watson’s committee assignments included the Government Reform and International Relations Committees. Before her tenure in Congress, Congresswoman Watson was the first African American woman to serve on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. She also served in the California State Senate for several years. Congresswoman Watson has been tireless in her efforts to improve health care and the lives of women and children. Congresswoman Watson received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles. She earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Claremont Graduate University and has attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams represents Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Elected as the Freshman Class President for the 117th Congress, Williams sits on the Financial Services Committee, where she is Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight and the Transportation and Infrastructure. Williams is also a member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Before Congress, she served in the Georgia State Senate. In 2019, she was elected chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, the first Black woman to serve. Williams has a passion for several legislative issues, including voting rights, reproductive justice, social justice, economic justice and healthcare. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Talladega College.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson has represented Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011 (112th Congress). Before Congress, Rep. Wilson was an educator who served in the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida State Senate. There she served as Minority Leader Pro Tempore and as Minority Lead Whip. She sits on the House Committee on Education and Labor, where she is Chair of two Subcommittees: Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions and Higher Education and Workforce Investment. She also sits on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Education and Workforce, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. As the Ranking Democrat on the Education and Workforce Protections Subcommittee in the 114th Congress, Congresswoman Wilson introduced the American Jobs Act of 2013, an innovative bill that promoted full employment and boosts workforce development opportunities; the Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights, which would provide vital relief to overburdened student loan borrowers; and the Youth Corp Act of 2013, which would reconnect youth with education, the workforce and their communities. Wilson earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Fisk University and her master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Miami.