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Cori Bush becomes Missouri's first Black congresswoman

“Working class people need representatives who look like them and who have experienced their struggles. I am that champion," Cori Bush wrote on Twitter.
Cori Bush
Cori Bush promotes "Knock Down the House" during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 27, 2019.Taylor Jewell / Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP

Cori Bush has been elected to Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, making her the first Black Congresswoman in the history of Missouri.

At the time the race was called by NBC News, Bush — a Democrat — was leading Republican candidate Anthony Rogers with 78.9 percent of the vote. Missouri’s 1st district includes St. Louis and usually leans blue.

On Tuesday morning, Bush cast her vote while wearing a mask with “Breonna Taylor” printed on it. A vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement Bush became politically active in 2014 protesting the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. “Mike Brown was murdered 2,278 days ago,” Bush wrote on Twitter. “We took to the streets for more than 400 days in protest. Today, we take this fight for Black Lives from the streets of Ferguson to the halls of Congress. We will get justice.”

Image: Cori Bush
Cori Bush celebrates at an election watch party outside her campaign headquarters at North Oaks Plaza, in St. Louis.Laurie Skrivan / St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Her journey to Congress was captured for the Netflix documentary “Knock Down The House,” which premiered at Sundance in 2019.

Bush’s platform includes Medicare for all, $15 federal minimum wage and the previously mentioned criminal justice reform. Bush continued on Twitter detailing what this win means for her and many more. “I will be the first woman to represent Missouri’s First District in its 173 year history. We have seen a 74 percent increase in women voters here since 2016. Representation matters. A system that works for everyone matters,” Bush wrote.

Being a registered nurse herself, Bush also pointed to the bravery of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am the first nurse going to Congress from Missouri – in the middle of a pandemic. Nurses all across the country have risked their lives to save others,” Bush tweeted. “Working class people need representatives who look like them and who have experienced their struggles. I am that champion.”

“Knock Down the House” followed the 2018 primary campaigns of four female and progressive candidates including Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paula Jean Swearengin and Amy Vilela.

In Variety‘s review of the documentary, Amy Nicholson wrote: “‘Knock Down the House’ has a clear political agenda. It wants to promote the hard work, courage and progressive policies of these women, who have all experienced financial hardship. Still, the film lets its subjects do the talking instead of cluttering things with statistics. The approach allows the women’s messages to take centerstage and show their determination.”

Ocasio-Cortez also won re-election to the House of Representatives on Tuesday night for New York’s 14th Congressional District. She earned 68.7% of the vote against Republican John Cummings.

In a picture posted to Twitter, Bush posed beneath a painting of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, with a finger raised. Her caption was simple: “The First.”

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