It's a start
The faces of Capitol Hill are changing.
When the 116th Congress heads to Washington in January, there will be a record number of women in the ranks: at least 123, according to Axios. The halls of legislature will also boast America's first Muslim women in Congress, the first Somali-American, and the first Native American women.
There will be more scientists, too.
On Tuesday, seven new science-credentialed candidates were elected: one new Senator and six new members of the House. Full results are not yet available in Washington state, where a pediatrician is also likely to be elected to the House.
In Congress right now, there is one PhD physicist, one microbiologist, and one chemist. There are also eight engineers and one PhD mathematician. The medical professions are slightly better represented, with three nurses and 15 doctors.
The new winners will bolster those science ranks. The candidates all ran successful campaigns with the support of a nonprofit political-action committee called 314 Action, which started in 2016 and is dedicated to recruiting, training, and funding scientists and healthcare workers who want to run for political office.
"Scientists are essentially problem-solvers," Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action, told Business Insider before the election results came in.
Since Congress often wrestles with complex issues like climate change, cybersecurity, and how to provide fairer, cheaper healthcare, Naughton thinks the US should put more scientists into the decision-making body.
"Who better to be tackling these issues than scientists?" she said.
Here's what to know about the new scientists heading to The Hill.
Democrat Jacky Rosen, a computer programmer who positioned herself as a moderate, beat Republican opponent Dean Heller in the Nevada Senate race.
Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada, waves on stage at an election night party on November 7, 2018 in Las Vegas. John Locher/AP
Rosen, who was elected to represent Nevada's 3rd District in the House two years ago, touted her role in the construction of a large solar array in a Las Vegas suburb. Rosen, the former president of one of the largest synagogues in Nevada, said the array lowered her synagogue's energy bill by 70%.
Industrial engineer Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat and Air Force vet, won the House seat in Pennsylvania's 6th District.
In South Carolina's 1st District, which has been red since 1981, ocean scientist Joe Cunningham defeated Republican hopeful Katie Arrington.
Biochemical engineer Sean Casten defeated Rep. Peter Roskam, the Republican incumbent in Illinois' 6th District.
Nuclear engineer Elaine Luria won her House seat in Virginia, becoming the first Democrat since 2008 to represent the 2nd District.
In Washington state, pediatrician Kim Schrier leads former state senator Dino Rossi. She is on track to become the 8th District's first-ever Democratic representative.
In Illinois' 14th District, registered nurse Lauren Underwood unseated four-term Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren.
In New Jersey's southernmost 2nd District, dentist Jeff Van Drew will take over for retiring Republican Representative Frank LoBiondo, who's represented that part of the state since 1995.
All seven of the scientists that 314 Action endorsed who were up for re-election last night won their races.
Representative Ami Bera has represented California's 7th District since 2013. He's also a physician and professor of medicine.
Mechanical engineer Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Doctor and medical school professor Ami Bera (D-CA, House Science Committee member)
PhD mathematician Jerry McNerney (D-CA, House Science Committee member)
E.R. doctor Raul Ruiz (D-CA)
PhD physicist Bill Foster (D-IL, House Science Committee member)
Mechanical and industrial engineer Paul Tonko (D-NY, House Science Committee member)
Physicist and Iraq vet Seth Moulton (D-MA)