On an election night where the results are mixed for Democrats so far, there’s one bright spot to celebrate: Ayanna Pressley just won an uncontested race in Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district, becoming the first Black woman to represent the state in its history.
During the primary, Pressley handily beat 10-term Democratic incumbent Mike Capuano, where she won 58.6 percent of the vote. Prior to her campaign, Pressley had served as a member of the Boston City Council since 2010, where she was the first Black woman ever elected to a seat.
With her “Change Can’t Wait” slogan, Pressley sought to energize voters by challenging the status quo, which is no small task in a place with such deeply entrenched politics as Boston. In fact, the seat Pressley will inhabit was once held by President John F. Kennedy. “This is not just about resisting and affronting Trump,” she told supporters earlier this fall. “Because the systemic inequalities and disparities that I’m talking about existed long before that man occupied the White House.”
Despite drawing early comparisons to New York congressional upstart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley has worked in politics for years. She interned for Representative Joe Kennedy II in college and later in her career and then worked for former Secretary of State and presidential candidate John Kerry in various capacities over the years. Much of her work on the Boston City Council revolved around helping women and families in the city by decreasing violence and poverty and increasing economic opportunities and safety.
By the looks of it, her progressive priorities will stay the same when she goes to Congress. “Today, we are powerful,” she tweeted a few hours before her race was called. “There are only a few hours left to get out the vote. Go #vote for progressive candidates who will fight for equity & justice. Vote for activist leaders who will work in and with community. Vote, because this is your democracy & your voice matters.”