Last night (September 4), Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley made history when she became the first woman of color to represent Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives.
The 44-year-old Black woman defeated 10-term Democratic incumbent Representative Michael Capuano with 58.6 percent of the vote in the state primary, and with no Republican in the race, she is set to take her place in the House following the general election in November.
Pressley won on a progressive platform that centered her “equity agenda.” She pledged to build healthy communities by treating the gun epidemic “like the public health crisis it is” and fighting for equitable and affordable childcare; rework the economy by closing the gender pay gap and supporting the arts and a creative economy; and stand up for threatened communities, including “Dreamers,” TPS holders, women and everyone whom the Trump administration treats with “disrespect.”
After Capuano conceded the race, Pressley gave a rousing acceptance speech, reflecting that “we committed to running a campaign for those who don’t see themselves reflected politics or government and are forever told that their issues, their concerns, their priorities can wait,” reminding the room that “it’s not just good enough to see the Democrats back in power, but it matters who those Democrats are,” calling President Donald Trump out as “a racist, misogynistic, truly empathy-bankrupt man” and declaring that “it seems like change is on the way.”
LIVE: Ayanna Pressley speaks after Capuano concession in MA-07 Democratic primary. https://t.co/QYIwFnlwnb— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 5, 2018
Pressley is not alone in that feeling that change is coming, as many herald her win as more proof that progressive candidates can take the lead in a party that has been criticized as stagnant. From The Washington Post:
Capuano is the second Democrat, and the fourth member of Congress overall, to lose a renomination battle in 2018, following the surprise defeat of Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. New England has never previously elected Black women to Congress; Pressley and Connecticut’s Jahana Hayes are both favored to win in November.
Pressley enjoyed an outpouring of support following the win:
Congratulations to my sister in service, @AyannaPressley, on continuing her historic path into Congress tonight.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) September 5, 2018
Let’s push together to make Medicare for All, tuition free college, & living wages a reality in America — all without corporate PAC money. ?? https://t.co/o2SbtUkByS
Don’t tell me these wins are one-off. This is part of the resistance and history is being made along the way. Women of color are leading us in this moment and I am here for it. ?? #MAPrimary #BlackExcellence https://t.co/m1bxXttRSA— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) September 5, 2018