- The 113th Congress will be the most diverse in U.S. history, though it still lags behind the changing demographics of the country. Below, a look at some of the firsts among the new senators and representatives.
First Buddhist senator
- Photo courtesy of Mazie Hirono.
- Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, will succeed retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka. Raised in the Jodo Shinshu school of Pure Land Buddhism, she considers herself a non-practicing Buddhist. Two other Buddhists serve in Congress: Reps. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii.
First openly gay senator
- U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin celebrates her victory in November. (Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
First Hindu in Congress
- Tulsi Gabbard speaks at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
- A former state legislator in Hawaii, Democrat Tulsi Gabbard was elected to the House in November and plans to be sworn in on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. She is also the first American Samoan woman elected to Congress as a representative. (Del. Eni Faleomavaega serves as a non-voting delegate from American Samoa.)
First openly bisexual member of Congress
- Kyrsten Sinema photo courtesy of kyrstensinema.com.
The most female senators
- Sens. Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Claire McCaskill, Debbie Stabenow and Amy Klobuchar speak at a 2012 press conference (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
- The incoming Senate will have 20 women (16 Democrats and four Republicans), the largest number in the history of the Senate. The previous Senate had 17 women.
Seventh African-American senator
- Then-Rep. Tim Scott leaves a Senate Republican lunch with Sen. Jim DeMint in 2012. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
- Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, was appointed to the Senate to replace Jim DeMint, who left to become president of the Heritage Foundation. Scott is the seventh African-American senator and the first from the South since the Reconstruction era.