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9 historic firsts in the U.S. midterm elections – National




Two years after Donald Trump was elected president of the U.S., the midterm elections ushered in a wave of historic firsts for marginalized and minority groups.

The midterms saw the Democrats retake the House of Representatives, and the Republicans gain ground in the Senate. Gubernatorial races were also up for grabs.

The 2018 U.S. midterm elections are over. Here’s what you need to know

Voters also elected a diverse group of people, many of whom made history as the first person of their race, gender or sexual orientation in their respective races.

Here’s a roundup of all the historic firsts the U.S. saw Tuesday night:

Texas sends first Hispanic women to Congress

Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia (both Democrats) will head to the House of Representatives to represent Texas.

While Hispanic men have been elected, it’s a first for Hispanic women. Texas’ Hispanic population has been on the rise, and it’s expected the community will be the largest population growth by 2022, according to the Texas Tribune.

Veronica Escobar (left) and Sylvia Garcia (right)

Compilation AP photos

First black congresswomen in Connecticut and Massachusetts

Jahana Hayes, a former teacher, beat her Republican Manny Santos in Connecticut’s 5th congressional district.

Ayanna Pressley ran unopposed in Massachusetts’ 7th district.

Compilation photo: Left – Democrat Ayanna Pressley, Right – Democratic congressional candidate Jahana Hayes

Compilation of REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin, AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

First woman under 30 years old elected to the House

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the former Bernie Sanders organizer, who surprised the country by winning the primary against an incumbent, won New York’s 14th congressional district.

She’s also the youngest women ever to be elected to Congress in the country.

WATCH: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becomes the youngest woman ever elected to Congress

First two Muslim women elected to Congress in the country

Rashida Tlaib ran unopposed in Michigan and Ilhan Oman handily won her district with 78 per cent of the vote. That makes the two the first Muslim women in the House of Representatives.

READ MORE: In historic first, 2 Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018 U.S. midterms

Individually, they also make historic firsts because of their nationality.

Omar is the first Somali-American person and Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American person in Congress.

WATCH: U.S. could elect its first Somali-American Congresswoman in 2018 midterms (Oct. 31, 2018) 

First two Native American congresswomen, one of which is openly gay

Sharice Davids is a former MMA fighter, a lawyer and now the first openly gay female member of Congress. She was elected in Kansas.

(She’s not the first MMA fighter elected — Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma was elected in 2013.)

Deb Haaland of New Mexico joins Davids as the first two Native American women elected in the country.

Deb Haaland (left) and Sharice Davids (right)

Compilation: AP Photos from Colin E. Braley and Juan Labreche

First openly gay governor elected

In Colorado, Jared Polis won the gubernatorial race to become the first openly gay governor elected.

Previous governors have come out after being elected.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis speaks at his midterm election night party in Denver, Colorado U.S. November 6, 2018.

REUTERS/Evan Semon

First woman Senator in Tennessee

Marsha Blackburn has become the first woman elected to the Senate for Tennessee. The Republican beat former governor Phil Bredesen in a tight race.

Time Magazine reports that there are 19 other states in which a woman has never been elected to the Senate.

First women ever in House of Representatives in Iowa

Democrats Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer both unseated their Republican rivals in Iowa’s 1st and 3rd congressional districts.

While Iowa has elected female senators and governors, it has never sent women to the House of Representatives before, the Washington Post reports.

Time Magazine reports that Alaska, North Dakota, Mississippi and Vermont still have never elected a woman to the House.

First female governors in South Dakota and Maine

Kristi Noem and Janet Mills are the first women to win gubernatorial races in South Dakota and Maine, respectively.

Before this election, 22 states had never elected a woman as governor, but that number is now down to 20. States including New York and California are among the 20 who have never elected female governors.

Record-breaking number of women running and elected

Women previously held 84 out of 435 House seats, which was a record.

But as of Wednesday morning, the record was on track to be broken as the final results are still rolling in.

READ MORE: U.S. midterm election voters elect more women to the House than it has ever had

“This is the year of the woman, and the fact that women were willing to put themselves on the line is important, whether they’ve been Republicans or Democrats,” said Donna Shalala, who was running in Florida for the first time.

— with files from the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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