Lauren Underwood, a Democrat from Naperville, Illinois, became the youngest black woman in history to be sworn in to the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon.
Underwood, 32, a registered nurse with two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University, began her political career as a policy professional in the Obama administration in 2014. Two years later, she became a senior adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services where she worked to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Underwood announced her candidacy in Illinois's 14th Congressional District in August 2017 on a platform of expanding job opportunities, investing in infrastructure and improving the ACA. She defeated the incumbent Republican, Randy Hultgren, in the Nov. 6 election, garnering 52.5 percent of the vote.
“Are you excited to make history?,” Underwood was asked Thursday afternoon as she posed for pictures on her way to the Capitol.
“A moment in history,” Underwood responded, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Underwood is one of the three Illinois Democrats who were sworn into the House on Thursday; the other two are Sean Casten and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Her appointment means that Democrats now have a 13-5 advantage over Republicans in Illinois’ House delegation.
For her, losing was never an option.
“I learned to be a black woman in this community,” Underwood told The New York Times in July. “This is my home, and the idea that I might not be a good fit is an idea I never gave a lot of consideration to.”