Hall of Fame

Fast Facts:

  • The first woman ever elected to Congress, Jeanette Rankin, was under forty years old.
  • The youngest woman to ever serve in the House was Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY), was elected at the age of 31 in 1972.
  • The youngest woman to ever serve in the Senate was Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln (AR), elected at the age of 38 in 1998.
  • Total number of women under forty elected to Congress: 38 (includes the 110th Congress).

Women Under Forty Elected to the U.S. House

In chronological order:

Jeanette Rankin

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service: 2 non-consecutive terms
Date Elected: July 11, 1916; November 5, 1940
State & District: Montana, At-Large
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Chairman and Field Secretary of the Montana Suffrage Association; Field Secretary of the National Consumer’s League; Legislative Secretary for the National Council for the Prevention of War.
While in Congress: Rankin was the first woman ever elected to Congress as well as the only person in congressional history to vote against the United States’ entry into both World Wars. She also co-sponsored a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. Rankin successfully introduced legislation creating a 13-member Woman Suffrage Committee. When asked why a woman should be elected to Congress, she answered:”[because] there isn’t a single woman to look after the nation’s greatest asset: its children.”

Mae Ella Nolan

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service: 1 term
Date Elected: January 23, 1923
State & District: California, 5th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Wife of Rep. John Nolan
While in Congress: Nolan was the first woman to chair a House committee while managing to never give a single speech on the House floor during her 2 years in office. She was appointed to the Labor Committee and the Committee on Woman Suffrage, which she gave up to chair the Committee of Expenditures in the Post Office Department. She refused to run for a second term because, as she put it, “Politics is entirely too masculine to have any attraction for feminine responsibilities.”

Katherine G. Langley

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 38
Length of Service: 2 terms
Date Elected: November 2, 1926
State & District: Kentucky, 10th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Worked as secretary to her husband John Wesley Langley during his 18 years in office; Active member of the Kentucky Republican Party; Founder of the Women’s Republican State Committee; Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1924; Served on the Kentucky Railroad Commission.
While in Congress: Langley was the first woman to serve on the elite Committee on Committees. Local papers praised Langley as “better equipped intellectually than her husband for service in Congress.”

Kathryn O’Laughlin McCarthy

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 38
Length of Service: 1 term
Date Elected: November 8, 1932
State & District: Kansas, 6th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Lawyer in private practice; Delegate to 3 state democratic conventions; Delegate to national democratic conventions.
While in Congress: McCarthy was assigned to the Insular Affairs Committee. She landed a seat on the Education panel after being denied being switched to the Agriculture Committee. Working on behalf of the farmers, she supported most New Deal legislation as well as backed the Agricultural Adjustment Act. She also supported tariff cuts and a dollar based on commodity prices rather than the gold standard.

Katharine Byron

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 37
Length of Service: Less than 1 term
Date Elected: May 27, 1941
State & District: Maryland, 6th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Filled out the unexpired term of her late husband Rep. William Byron; helped her son 30 years later win election to the House.
While in Congress: Byron was assigned to the Committee on the Civil Service and the Committee on War Claims. She also voiced support for countries fighting against the Nazis and called for increased American military procedures.

Clare Boothe Luce

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 39
Length of Service: 2 terms
Date Elected: November 3, 1942
State & District: Connecticut, 4th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Member of the National Women’s Party and campaigned from suffrage; Editorial assistant of Vogue; Associate Editor then Managing Editor of Vanity Fair; Toured the world as a war correspondent for Time, Life, and Fortune magazines after the outbreak of WWII; Ambassador to Italy; Served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under Nixon, Ford, and Reagan.
While in Congress: Luce was assigned to the Military Affairs Committee and used her seat in Congress as a platform throughout the war to attack the Roosevelt administration. She also proposed a non-aggression pact with England, France, and other European countries and fought for India’s independence from Britain. Luce also voted against the Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Bill. She’s noted for her sharp tongue, which tended to obscure much of her legislative efforts.

Winnifred Claire Stanley

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 33
Length of Service: 1 term
Date Elected: November 3, 1942
State & District: New York, At-Large
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Lawyer in private practice; Assistant District Attorney of Erie County, NY; Chief Counsel of the New York State Employees’ Retirement System; Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Law Department.
While in Congress: Stanley ran with the intent of only serving one term, after New York merged its two at-large districts. During her campaign, she traveled only by foot, bus or train, refusing the special gas-rationing privileges given to political candidates. Newsweek magazine called her “pretty enough to `twitterpate` some of her colleagues.” Stanley served on the Civil Service and Patents Committees and generally voted against President Roosevelt’s New Deal Programs. She was a strong advocate of gender and racial equality and fought for anti-discrimination efforts in the military and in employment.

Patsy Mink

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service: 12 terms
Date Elected: November 3, 1964
State & District: Hawaii, At-Large
Prior Elective Office: Hawaii House of Representatives in 1956; Hawaii Senate in 1958.
Other Experience: Lawyer in private practice; Attorney of the Hawaii House of Representatives; delegate to the Democratic National Convention; appointed by President Carter as Secretary of State for Oceans, International Environment, and Science Affairs; President of liberal Americans for Democratic Action.
While in Congress: Mink was the first woman from Hawaii to be elected to Congress. After being assigned to the Education and Labor Committee, she introduced the first child-care bill. Her greatest legislative success was her Women’s Education Equity Act. Not only did she create the Democratic Women’s Caucus, but she served as its first chair. She died in office in 2002.

Margaret Heckler

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 35
Length of Service: 8 terms
Date Elected: November 8, 1966
State & District: Massachusetts, 10th District
Prior Elective Office: Massachusetts Governor’s Council
Other Experience: Member of Republican town committee of Wellesley, Massachusetts; Secretary of the Depart of Health and Human Services; Ambassador to Ireland.
While in Congress: Heckler was considered a “liberal” Republican who often crossed party lines. She was an early opponent to the Vietnam War. She was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. She also served on the Banking and Currency, Agriculture, Service and Technology, Ethics, and the Joint Economic Committee. Being a strong supporter of women’s rights, she backed the Equal Rights Amendment. She also drafted the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and helped create the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.

Elizabeth Holtzman

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 31
Length of Service: 4 terms
Date Elected: November 7, 1972
State & District: New York, 16th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Lawyer; Assistant to Mayor John Lindsay; Democratic state committee member and district leader; District Attorney of Brooklyn; City Comptroller of Brooklyn.
While in Congress: Holtzman was the youngest woman ever elected to
Congress. She served on the Judiciary Committee and participated in the Watergate impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon; she later served on the Budget Committee. Holtzman was also a co-founder of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. She made headlines when she sued in a federal court to stop bombings of Cambodia, but her victory was later overturned by an appeals court.

Barbara Jordan

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service 3 terms
Date Elected: November 7, 1972
State & District: Texas, 18th District
Prior Elective Office: First black woman elected to State Senate in 1966; First black chief executive in the country.
Other Experience: Lawyer in private practice; Administrative assistant to county judge of Harris County, Texas; received Presidential Medal of Freedom; keynote speaker at 2 Democratic National Conventions.
While in Congress: Jordan is known for her eloquent but hard-hitting speeches during the Watergate impeachment hearings of President Nixon. She was the first black woman from the South to ever be elected to the U.S. Congress. She served on the Judiciary Committee and the Government Operations Committee. Jordan also fought to create bilingual ballots under the Voting Rights Act.

Patricia Schroeder

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 32
Length of Service: 12 terms
Date Elected: November 7, 1972
State & District: Colorado, 1st District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Field attorney for Colorado with the National Labor Relations Board; Lawyer in private practice; President of the Association of American Publishers.
While in Congress: Schroeder was the first woman elected to Congress from Colorado and the first female member with young children. She served on the Armed Services Committee, Judiciary Committee, and the Post Office and Civil Service Committee. She served as chair of the Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families and the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. Schroeder co-sponsored the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and spent 9 years pushing for the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act that was eventually passed.

Mary Rose Oakar

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service: 8 terms
Date Elected: November 2, 1976
State & District: Ohio, 20th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Served on the Cleveland City Council; member of the Democratic state central committee.
While in Congress: Oakar was a member of the House Administration Committee, the Post Office and Civil Service Committee, and the Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs Committee. She was also the Secretary of the Democratic Caucus.

Olympia Snowe

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 31
Length of Service: 8 terms
Date Elected: November 7, 1978
State & District: Maine, 2nd District
Prior Elective Office: Elected to Maine State Senate in 1976
Other Experience: District office manager for Representative William S. Cohen; Delegate for the state and national Republican Conventions; current member of the U.S. Senate.
While in Congress: Snowe was the fourth woman to ever serve in both the House and the Senate. She was the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. She also served on the Government Operations Committee, the Small Business Committtee, the Select Committee on Aging, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In 1994, she was elected to the U.S. Senate, where she is currently serving her 3rd term.

Claudine Schneider

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 33
Length of Service: 5 terms
Date Elected: November 4, 1980
State & District: Rhode Island, 2nd District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Founder of the Rhode Island Committee on Energy; Executive Director for the Conservation Law Foundation; Federal Coordinator of the Rhode Island Coastal Management Program.
While in Congress: Schneider was assigned to the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and the Committtee on Science, Space, and Technology. She was one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress and focused on environmental, energy, and women’s issues.

Marcy Kaptur

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service: 13 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 2, 1982
State & District: Ohio, 9th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Assistant Director for Urban Affairs; director of planning for the National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs; Urban Planner for the Toledo-Lucas County in Ohio.
While in Congress: Kaptur has fought strenuously against NAFTA and opposed the GATT trade agreement. She is a strong supporter of organized labor and U.S. jobs. Kaptur is assigned to Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittees on Agriculture, Transportation/Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Defense. She also serves on the prestigious Budget Committee.

Jill Long

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 37
Length of Service: 3 terms
Date Elected: March 28, 1989
State & District: Indiana, 4th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Business Professor at Indiana University; Member of the Valparaiso City Council.
While in Congress: Long was on the Agriculture Committee and pushed through several amendments to the 1990 Farm Bill. She also served on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and fought for better treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and comprehensive health care services for women vets. Long was a member of the Select Committee on Hunger and the Task Force on Government Waste. She was generally liberal on social issues and strictly conservative on fiscal issues.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 37
Length of Service: 9 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: August 29, 1989
State & District: Florida, 18th District
Prior Elective Office: Florida state House of Representatives and state Senate.
Other Experience: Founder of private elementary school Eastern Academy.
While in Congress: Ros-Lehtinen was the first Cuban-American elected to Congress. She has fought hard to uphold the pristine condition of the environment. One of her key interests is ensuring that the South Florida economy continues to grow and provides economic opportunities for all. She has been working hard to get Transportation Safety Administration screeners for the Florida Keys Marathon Airport and required security for the Port of Miami. She has voted to reduce student loan interest rates and ensured funding for programs that address violence against women. She is the Ranking Member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Susan Molinari

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 31
Length of Service: 5 terms
Date Elected: March 20, 1990
State & District: New York, 14th District
Prior Elective Office: Member of the New York City Council
Other Experience: None
While in Congress: Molinari was the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference and the keynote speaker at the Republican Convention in 1996. She was the first woman to ever wear pants on the House floor. She was also assigned to the Small Business Committee, Public Works and Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee. Molinari was liberal on social issues, but conservative on economic issues. In 1995, she led a congressional delegation to the war-torn area of Bosnia.

Blanche Lambert Lincoln

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 32
Length of Service: 2 terms
Date Elected: November 3, 1992
State & District: Arkansas, 1st District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Receptionist to Representative Bill Alexander; current member of U.S. Senate.
While in Congress: Lincoln was assigned to the prestigious Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Agriculture and Merchant Marine Committees. She generally voted along moderate lines. She opposed the 1993 Brady Bill, backed a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, and voted against lifting the ban on homosexuals in the military.

Cynthia McKinney

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 37
Length of Service: 8 terms
Date Elected: November 3, 1992
State & District: Georgia, 4th District
Prior Elective Office: Member of Georgia state House of Representatives.
Other Experience: Faculty member at Clark Atlanta University and Agnes Scott College.
While in Congress: McKinney was the first black woman ever elected to Congress from Georgia and is one of the more controversial members of Congress. She made headlines in 1993 when she attacked the amendment prohibiting Medicaid funding for abortions as racist. She also served on the Banking and Financial Services Committee and the Committee on International Relations. She was defeated in 2002 by Denise Majette, but she regained her seat back in 2004. She hosted the first delegation of Afro-Latinos from Central and South America and worked alongside the World Bank and State Department to recognize Afro Latinos. She supported Aboriginals in their opposition against Australian mining companies and the U’wa people of Colombia to save their land from oil rigs. She was defeated in the 2006 Democratic primary, losing her Congressional seat a second time.

Nydia Velazquez

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 39
Length of Service: 8 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 3, 1992
State & District: New York, 12th District
Prior Elective Office: First Latina to serve on the New York City Council.
Other Experience: Special assistant to the U.S. Representative Ed Towns; director of the Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs.
While in Congress: Velazquez was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress and spent much of her political career working on behalf of immigrants. She made history in 1998 when she was named ranking Democrat of the House Small Business Committee, the first Hispanic woman to ever serve as ranking member or chair of a full House or Senate committee. She established herself as a solid liberal and was a strong proponent of increasing minimum wage, as well as voted against efforts to overhaul the welfare system and ban same-sex marriages. Velazquez is the Chairwoman of the Committee on Small Business and is a member of the Committees on Financial Services (subcommittees on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-sponsored Enterprise) and Housing and Community Opportunity.

Maria Cantwell

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 34
Length of Service: 1 term
Date Elected: November 3, 1992
State & District: Washington, 1st District
Prior Elective Office: Washington State Representative and chaired Committee on Trade and Economic Development.
Other Experience: Worked for Senator Alan Cranston’s campaign; elected to U.S. Senate in 2000.
While in Congress: Cantwell was a member of the Public Works Committee, Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She continually pushed for smaller government spending during her term in office. She is currently serving in the U.S. Senate.

Lynn Rivers

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 37
Length of Service: 4 terms
Date Elected: November 8, 1994
State & District: Michigan, 13th District
Prior Elective Office: Michigan State House of Representatives
Other Experience: Member of Ann Arbor Board of Education
While in Congress: Rivers was assigned to the Science and Budget Committees. She focused much of her legislative attention on education and felt the government should spend more on public education and less on the military. She was an outspoken opponent of Republican efforts to create school vouchers to pay for tuition at private schools as well as their efforts to reduce the cost of Medicare spending.

Enid Greene Waldholtz

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service: 1 term
Date Elected: November 8, 1994
State & District: Utah, 2nd District
Prior Elective Office: Deputy chief of staff to Utah Governor Norman Bangerter.
Other Experience: National Chair of the Young Republicans.
While in Congress: Waldholtz was given a prestigious seat on the Rules Committee. She had a child during her first year in Congress, making her only the second woman in history to give birth while in Congress.

Loretta Sanchez

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service: 6 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 5, 1996
State & District: California, 46th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Financial advisor
While in Congress: Sanchez and her sister, Linda (also first elected under age 40), are the first sisters to serve in Congress. She is the ranking woman of the House Armed Services Committee and sits on the Oversight and Investigations, Readiness, and Military Personnel Subcommittees. She was selected by Speaker of the House Pelosi to serve as Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterroism.

Diana DeGette

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 39
Length of Service: 6 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 5, 1996
State & District: Colorado, 1st District
Prior Elective Office: Colorado State House of Representatives
Other Experience: Civil Rights Lawyer
While in Congress: DeGette worked for liberal causes and focused on gun control issues. She also sponsored bills to allow patients to sue their health care management organization, prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to abused spouses, and to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21. She is currently the Democratic Chief Deputy Whip and is the Vice Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Tammy Baldwin

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service: 5 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 3, 1998
State & District: Wisconsin, 2nd District
Prior Elective Office: Dane County Board of Supervisors, Wisconsin State Assembly, Wisconsin State Representative
Other Experience: JD from University of Wisconsin
While in Congress: Baldwin is the first woman to be elected to Congress from Wisconsin and is the first open lesbian to be elected to Congress. She is an advocate for universal health care, stem cell research, and hate crime legislation. She currently serves on the Committees on Energy and Commerce (Subcommittees on Energy and Air Quality, Health, Environment and Hazardous Materials) and the Judiciary (Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security).

Mary Bono

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 37
Length of Service: 5 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 3, 1998
State & District: California, 45th District
Prior Elective Office: none
Other Experience: wife of former Representative Sonny Bono
While in Congress: Bono is the founding co-chair of both the Recording Arts and Sciences Caucus and the Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention Caucus. One of her most significant legislative achievements is the establishment of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monuments. She has established herself as a leader in the House because of her efforts to improve health care, the environment, consume protection, and national energy policy. She currently serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce (Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection; Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality; and the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet).

Heather Wilson

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 37
Length of Service: 5 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: June 25, 1998
State & District: New Mexico, 1st District
Prior Elective Office: Cabinet Secretary for New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Department, Director for European Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council Staff at the White House
Other Experience: MA from Oxford, Air Force Officer, founder of Keystone International Inc.
While in Congress: Wilson is the second woman from New Mexico and the first Air Force Academy graduate to serve in Congress. She serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce (Subcommittees on Health, Environment and Hazardous Materials, Telecommunications and the Internet) and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Ranking Member of Subcommittee for Technical and Tactical Intelligence, member of Subcommittee on Oversight).

Melissa Hart

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 38
Length of Service: 3 terms
Date Elected: November 11, 2000
State & District: Pennsylvania, 4th District
Prior Elective Office: Pennsylvania State Senate, Chair of the Finance Committee
Other Experience: JD from Catholic University
While in Congress: Hart was the first Republican woman in history to represent Pennsylvania at the federal level. She co-chaired the Platform Committee for the 2004 Republican National Convention. She lost in the 2006 election but announced in July 2007 that she will run again in 2008.

Linda Sanchez

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 33
Length of Service: 3 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 5, 2002
State & District: California, 39th District
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the Orange County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 441; National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA); JD from UCLA.
While in Congress: She and her sister, Loretta (also first elected under age 40), are the first sisters and women of any relation to ever serve in Congress. She serves on the Committees on the Judiciary (Chair of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, and member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law), Foreign Affairs (Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Subcommittee on Europe), and Education and Labor (Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, Subcommittee on Health, Labor, Employment and Pensions).

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 33
Length of Service: 2 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: June 1, 2004
State & District: South Dakota, At-Large
Prior Elective Office: None
Other Experience: Executive Director of the South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation; South Dakota Public Utilities Commission; Legal Counsel for the Elderly; law clerk to the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; JD from Georgetown Law School.
While in Congress: Herseth first ran for Congress in 2002 against former Governor Bill Janklow. A few months later, he killed a motorcyclist in a car accident and had to resign. She ran in the special election in June of 2004 and defeated John Thune (who later defeated Senator Tom Dashle). Former Governor Ralph Herseth was her grandfather and Lorna B. Herseth, South Dakota’s Secretary of State, was her grandmother. Her father, Lars, served in the state legislature for 20 years and was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 1986. She was chosen at the beginning of the 110th Congress to serve on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in recognition of her advocacy for and leadership on the issue of renewable biofeuls. She also serves on the Committees on Agriculture (Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research; and Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management), Veterans’ Affairs (Chair of the Economic Opportunity Subcommittee), and Natural Resources (Subcommittees on Forests and Forest Health; and Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands).

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Party: Republican
Age Elected: 33
Length of Service: 2 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 2, 2004
State & District: Washington, 5th District
Prior Elective Office: Washington State House of Representatives and served as House Minority Leader, Chair of the House Commerce and Labor Committee and Vice-Chair of the House Agriculture and Ecology Committee.
Other Experience: Named “Legislator of the Year” by the Washington Farm Bureau; Vice-Chair of the George W. Bush 2000 Presidential Campaign for the 5th Congressional District of Washington; MBA from University of Washington.
While in Congress: She is the Sophomore Class representative on the Steering Committee, is a member of the Republican Whip Team, and is a member of the House Republicans High-Tech Working Group. McMorris Rodgers is also the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Women’s Caucus that works on issues to better to the lives of women and families. She also serves on the Committees on Armed Services (Subcommittees on Readiness, Air and Land Forces); Education and Labor (Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness; and Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions); and Natural Resources (Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Water and Power).

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 37
Length of Service: 2 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 2, 2004
State & District: Florida, 20th District
Prior Elective Office: Florida House of Representatives and served as Democratic Leader Pro Tempore, Democratic Floor Leader, and Chair of the Committee on Higher Education; Florida State Senate
Other Experience: Legislative aide to State Representative Peter Deutsch; Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of Broward and South Palm Beach Counties, the American Jewish Congress-Southeast Region, and the Westside Regional Medical Center.
While in Congress: She was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1992 at the age of 26, which made her the youngest woman to ever serve in the Florida legislature. She is also the first Jewish Congresswoman ever elected from Florida. She currently serves on the Committees on the Judiciary (Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Judiciary Committee Antitrust Task Force) and Appropriations (Chair of Legislative Branch Subcommittee, member of Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government).

Kathy Castor

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 40
Length of Service: 1 term (still in office)
State and District: Florida, 11th District
Date Elected: November 7, 2006
Prior Elective Office: Hillsborough County Commissioner
Other Experience: Attorney
While in Congress: Castor is working on stopping patients from being forced into HMOs and has fought to protect the wetlands and make developers pay their share of the costs for new schools and roads. She has protected neighborhoods from utility companies and has worked to pass stricter laws on lobbyist and special interest group regulation. She serves on the Committees on Armed Services (Subcommittees on Air and Land Forces, Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities) and Rules (Subcommittee on Rules and Organization of the House).

Gabrielle Giffords

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 36
Length of Service: 1 term (still in office)
State and District: Arizona, 8th District
Date Elected: November 7, 2006
Prior Elective Office: Representative from Tuscon in the Arizona State Legislature, served on Appropriations, Commerce and Economic Development, and Finance Committees.
Other Experience: Former President and CEO of El Campo Tire, Inc. Partner in Giffords Capital Management LLC.
While in Congress: Giffords has worked to expand health care coverage for Arizona families, create and attract high wage jobs to Arizona, and protect Arizona’s environment and open spaces. She serves on the Committees on Armed Services (Readiness, Air and Land Forces Subcommittees), Foreign Affairs (Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere), and Science and Technology. She is also a member of the Blue Dog Coalition.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 39
Length of Service: 1 term (still in office)
State and District: New York, 20th District
Date Elected: November 7, 2006
Prior Elective Office: Special Council to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton Administration.
Other Experience: Lawyer
While in Congress: Gillibrand is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, and strongly opposes gun control. She supports progressive stances on issues such as reproductive rights, environmental protections, and fair trade. Gillibrand serves on the Committees on Armed Services (Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities subcommittee and the Seapower subcommittee) and Agriculture (Livestock, Dairy and Poultry subcommittee, Conservation Credit Energy and Research subcommittee and the Horticulture and Organic Agriculture subcommittee).

Women Under Forty Elected to the U.S. Senate

Blanche Lambert Lincoln

Party: Democrat
Age Elected: 38
Length of Service: 2 terms (still in office)
Date Elected: November 3, 1998
State: Arkansas
Prior Elective Office: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
While in the Senate: Lincoln was named Democratic Caucus Chair of Rural Outreach. She serves on the Senate Committee on Finance; the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; and the Senate Special Committee on Aging.


Information for this list for the women serving from 1916-1998 is from original data created by Dennis Simon, Southern Methodist University and Barbara Palmer, American University; Karen Foerstel, Biographical Dictionary of Congressional Women, Greenwood Press, 1999.

Information for this list for the women serving from 1998 to the present is from original data created by WUFPAC, supplemented by www.womenincongress.house.gov.

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Women Under 40 Elected to Congress