Election night 2012 was a celebration for some, and a let down for others. Still, no matter your political affiliation (orlack thereof) there was one clear winner to come out of the country’s most recent elections: women.
A record number of women start their terms in the Senate today, and below, Levo introduces you to them all, both old and new.
1. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
A Republican from New Hampshire, Ayotte was first elected in 2010 and also served as the state’s attorney general and deputy attorney general.
2. Tammy Baldwin** (D-WI)
January 2013 will begin Baldwin’s first term in the Senate, though she has previously served terms in the Wisconsin assembly and House of Representatives. A Democrat, she is not only the first Wisconsin woman elected to the Senate, but also the first openly gay politician to be elected to the Senate.
3. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
A one-time stock broker and journalist, this Democrat first won California’s open Senate seat in 1993 after serving five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
4. Maria Cantwell** (D-WA)
The Democrat from Washington State was first elected in 2001, which helped make Washington the fourth state to send two women to the U.S. Senate at the same time (including Patty Murray). Cantwell also has been a U.S. and state representative, as well as a technology executive.
5. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Collins, a Republican from Maine, first won her seat in 1996. She began her career in politics, serving as a state cabinet member, and unsuccessfully ran for governor before launching her senate campaign.
6. Dianne Feinstein** (D-CA)
A Democrat from California, Feinstein first served as the mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988 before winning a special election to fill a vacant Senate seat in 1992. She won her first full term in 1994.
7. Deb Fischer** (R-NE)
January 2013 will be the Republican from Nebraska’s first term in the Senate. She previously served as the representative for the state’s largest legislative district.
8. Kirsten Gillibrand** (D-NY)
Gillibrand served her first Senate term beginning in 2009. A Democrat, she’s also served as a law clerk and attorney, as well as a U.S. Representative and special counsel to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
9. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
A former vice president of North Carolina’s largest bank, Hagan, a Democrat, also worked as an attorney and community activist. She was first elected to the Senate in 2009.
10. Heidi Heitkamp** (D-ND)
As the Attorney General of North Dakota, Heitkamp earned fame as one of the chief negotiators in a national settlement to have tobacco companies pay for tobacco-related healthcare costs. Prior to that, she worked as a director at the Dakota Gasification synfuels plant. January 2013 will begin her first term in the Senate.
11. Mazie Hirono** (D-HI)
Hirono, who was elected to Congress in 2006, is a native of Fukushima, Japan, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1959, the same year Hawaii became a state. She is the first immigrant woman of Asian ancestry to be sworn into congressional office.
12. Amy Klobuchar** (D-MN)
A county attorney and prosecutor, Klobucher, a Democrat from Minnesota, became the first female senator elected by the state of Minnesota when she won her first term in 2007.
13. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
First elected to the Senate in 1997, this Democrat from Louisiana previously ran an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1995. She’s started her career as a state representative, and also served as state treasurer.
14. Claire McCaskill** (D-MO)
A former state auditor, county prosecutor, and law clerk at the Missouri Court of Appeals, McCaskill, a Democrat, also served as a state representative and was first elected to the Senate in 2007.