Pramila Jayapal, 53, becomes the first South Asian American woman to preside over US House.
Crossing racial and religious barriers, the 116th Congress broke records with women and lawmakers. A record number of 17 Asian Americans serve in Congress, with 14 in the House and three in the Senate.
A Democrat from Washington DC, took to Twitter to share a clip of Tuesday’s session where she was seen presiding over the House as a temporary speaker.
In the text that accompanied the clip, Jayapal, who was first elected in 2016, wrote, “Today, I became the first South Asian American woman to preside over the US House of Representatives. Beyond proud to serve in the most diverse Congress in our nation’s history and to hold the gavel today.”
Although Nancy Pelosi has been serving as the Speaker of the House of Representatives since January 2019, members of the majority party in the House periodically take turns to temporarily preside over the chamber.
53-year old Jayapal represents Washington D.C.’s seventh congressional district. As a member of the Democratic Party, she represented the 37th legislative district in the Washington State Senate from 2015 to 2017.