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Kalil: November election brought many 'firsts'

This week we learned of so many firsts across this country, firsts that give me hope that we, the people, have a greater understanding of what it means to be an American. A New York cab driver told me a few weeks ago that "this was not the Americ...

This week we learned of so many firsts across this country, firsts that give me hope that we, the people, have a greater understanding of what it means to be an American. A New York cab driver told me a few weeks ago that "this was not the America he immigrated to 30 years ago."

I wonder what he'd say now about the Liberian immigrant elected mayor of Helena, Mont., defeating the long-term incumbent who opposed refugee resettlement? Or the transgender woman who was elected to the state legislature, defeating the incumbent who pushed a "bathroom bill."

A Sikh was elected mayor of Hoboken, N.J. The first openly transgender African American woman was elected to the Minneapolis City Council. A Lesbian won the mayor's seat in Seattle. A woman is the new mayor of Provo, Utah. St. Paul has its first African American mayor. Charlotte, N.C., has its first African American female mayor.

The list goes on and on to include a Vietnamese immigrant woman and two Latina women elected to the Virginia Legislature, gay and transgender school board members, three African Americans being elected mayor of three towns in Georgia. A Sudanese woman elected to an Iowa city council.

And, my personal favorite, a young woman of color defeated the county commissioner who made headlines in January with his comment about the Women's March when he wondered, "will the women be home in time to make him dinner?"

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How many more years will it take before the headlines aren't about "firsts" and labels? This list seems to indicate that we, the people, are instead choosing leaders who best represent our future and not our present. This is the vision upon which the nonpartisan League of Women Voters was founded 98 years ago. We invite you to join us in our advocacy and voter education work.

Kalil is president of the League of Women Voters Minnesota.

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