Va House of Delegates welcomes 12 newly-elected women

The Democratic wave in Virginia was officially sworn into office today with 12 new women taking their seats in the house of delegates.

RICHMOND, VA. - The Democratic wave in Virginia was officially sworn into office today with 12 new women taking their seats in the house of delegates. 

"This is real now. I'm just so grateful for all the people who voted for me," said Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, (D) 31st district, from Prince William County.

Guzman, along with Hala Ayala, are the first two Latina women to be seated in the Virginia legislature.   Ayala is too overcome with emotions to talk. 

Danica Roem is the first transgender person in the Virginia legislature, representing the 13th district in Manassas. She beat former Delegate Robert G. Marshall who was the most socially-conservative member of the House of Delegates.  

"On behalf of all the people of the 13th District, including the 12,077 people who gave me the blessing to be here, its the honor of a lifetime," said Roem.   

Dawn Adams from Richmond is the first lesbian in the legislature

"It was fabulous.  I really can't even articulate the history of the moment and how amazing it was," said Adams, (D) 68th district. Adams grew up in Springfield, Virginia. 

Adams sits in the front row with Ayala, Guzman, and Jennifer Carroll Foy, the first African-American representing Prince William County.  Carroll Foy was also one of the first female graduates at VMI.

They're all part of the democratic wave of 15 newcomers in the house of delegates. 

So what does all this mean?

Republicans still have a majority in both the House and the Senate. But they only have a one point advantage in the house. And that means that issues the Democrats have been pushing for years may finally have a chance.

"If there's any issue that unites the entire Democratic caucus, without question it is the push for Medicaid expansion. Bottom line, we are all in to get it done," said Roem. 

Guzman says stopping gun violence is  also a top priority. "We're going to work to get universal criminal background checks and take guns away from domestic violence abusers." 

Other issues on Democrat's list are raising the minimum wage and improving public education.  

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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