Conservatives won House races on Election Day and many of these new members are expected to bring fresh perspectives to Capitol Hill as they represent millennials, minorities, the disabled, and immigrants, among others.
Here are five of the House’s incoming freshman Republicans.
1. Kat Cammack, 3rd District of Florida
Kat Cammack defeated Democrat Adam Christensen to win Florida’s 3rd Congressional District with 57.2% of the vote.
Cammack, 32, is a former aide to Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., having served as his chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, and campaign manager. She now will succeed Yoho, who is retiring after four terms.
Born in Denver into a family of cattle ranchers, Cammack is a strong Second Amendment advocate and committed to supporting farmers and ranchers.
The congresswoman-elect completed her bachelor’s degree at Metropolitan State University in Denver before earning a master’s of science degree in national defense and strategic studies at the Naval War College.
Cammack says she became active in politics in 2011 after her family lost their ranch, which she blamed on the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, a program intended to help homeowners refinance underwater mortgages.
During her time working for Yoho, she established four new Veterans Affairs clinics in Florida; crafted Project Putnam, intended to “improve the economic, social, educational, and overall development of Putnam County”; and oversaw Yoho’s North Central Florida Human Trafficking Task Force.
Matt Harrison, Cammack’s husband, is a firefighter and paramedic. Together they founded the Grit Foundation, a nonprofit supporting veterans, first responders, and local law enforcement.
2. Madison Cawthorn, 11th District of North Carolina
Madison Cawthorn, 25, will become the youngest member of Congress in modern history when he is sworn in in January.
Cawthorn defeated Democratic candidate Morris Davis to win North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District with 54.5% of the vote.
Born and raised in the 11th District, which encompases much of the westernmost part of the state, Cawthorn hoped to join the Navy and attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, to which Mark Meadows, former North Carolina congressman and current White House chief of staff, had nominated him.
Cawthorn was forced to change his life plans when he sustained serious injuries in a car accident in the spring of 2014 that put him in the intensive care unit of a hospital for five weeks.
Cawthorn’s extensive injuries left him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair. The young congressman-elect says he can relate to people who feel they “have been dealt a bad hand.”
Before running for Congress, he worked as a staff assistant in Meadows’ district office and attended Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, for a time. In 2019, he started his own small real estate investment business.
In a campaign video, Cawthorn said that, as a millennial, he plans to bring a fresh perspective to Congress and is committed to saying “no to high taxes [and] no to socialism.”
3. Byron Donalds, 19th District of Florida
Byron Donalds defeated his Democratic opponent, Cindy Banyai, in a landslide, capturing 61.3% of the vote in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.
On his website, Donalds, 42, claims to be “everything the fake news media [say] doesn’t exist: a Trump-supporting, liberty-loving, pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment black man.”
Donalds was raised by a single mother in Brooklyn, New York, and credits her for instilling in him a passion to “leave future generations better than the current [one].”
He settled in Florida after graduating from Florida State University in 2002 with degrees in finance and marketing. He worked in insurance, banking, and finance for a number of years in southwestern Florida and became politically involved in 2016 when he was elected to serve in the state House of Representatives.
In 2017, he was named a “Champion of Economic Freedom” by the nonprofit Americans for Prosperity, and in 2018, the American Conservative Union Foundation honored him with its Award for Conservative Excellence.
Donalds is chairman of the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives. Criminal justice reform, education, and elder affairs are three of the issues he has focused on during his time in the state House.
The father of three sons, Donalds and wife Erika live in Naples, Florida. He has served as a youth leader in his church and serves as a volunteer coach for local youth basketball and football leagues.
Donalds has received a 100% rating from Florida Right to Life.
4. Yvette Herrell, 2nd District of New Mexico
New Mexico native and small business champion Yvette Herrell won the election in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District with 53.9% of the vote, with 95% of the vote reported.
This was Herrell’s second congressional bid. In 2018, she was defeated by Democrat Xochitl Torres Small by a narrow margin of 3,800 votes out of more than 199,000 cast, according to Ballotpedia.org. In their rematch, Herrell won the seat despite being outspent 3 to 1.
Herrell, 56, has committed to “take New Mexico’s values to Congress and work across party lines,” noting endorsements on her website from both former Democratic Rep. Harry Teague and former Republican Rep. Steve Pearce.
Herrell, a Heritage Action for America sentinel, served in New Mexico’s House of Representatives from 2011 to 2019. As a member of the Cherokee Nation, she will be the third Native American woman to serve in Congress, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.
As an entrepreneur, real estate agent, and former small businesses owner, Herrell says she is prepared to fight against big government overreach. In 2018, the Rio Grande Foundation’s Freedom Index ranked her in first place for upholding principles of economic freedom among more than 100 political leaders in the state.
Herrell doesn’t shy away from a discussion of the border wall and says she is committed to completing it and to standing with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol agents. She also advocates for the growth of America’s military and says New Mexico would be an “ideal location” for the military to develop its new Space Force branch.
5. Maria Elvira Salazar, 27th District of Florida
Congresswoman-elect Maria Elvira Salazar was born to immigrant parents who fled Cuba and came to America to escape Fidel Castro’s dictatorship. Salazar, who turned 59 two days before the election, grew up in Miami and Puerto Rico, where her parents instilled in her the value of freedom.
She defeated Democratic freshman Rep. Donna Shalala in a rematch of their 2018 contest to win Florida’s 27th Congressional District, capturing 51% of the vote, according to Miami’s Channel 4, a CBS affiliate. Shalala served as secretary of health and human services for eight years in the administration of then-President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001.
Salazar has lived the American dream, attending the University of Miami before going on to Harvard University to earn a master’s degree in public administration. She has had a successful career as a journalist, becoming a prominent anchor for CNN Español and later covering the Persian Gulf War and El Salvador’s civil war, the latter for Univision.
Salazar served as a Pentagon and White House correspondent for Univision for a number of years before becoming the bureau chief for its Central America division.
As the senior political correspondent for Telemundo in Cuba, Salazar interviewed Castro at the Cuban mission to the United Nations in 1995.
The winner of five broadcasting Emmy Awards, Salazar has been praised for her “passion for freedom and uncovering oppressive, communist, and socialist regimes in Latin America, especially in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua,” as noted on her website.
Salazar, who has two daughters and lives in Miami with her husband, is a staunch anti-socialist, writing on her website: “Socialism isn’t a romantic ideal as those on the left want us to believe.” She promises to “fight so everyone can pursue the American dream.”
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