Meet the 5 new members of Congress from New England
A new congressional class will be sworn in Thursday, beginning a new era of divided government as Democrats take over the US House of Representatives. Among the group taking the oath of office will be five new House members from New England. (All the US senators up for reelection in the six states won reelection.)
Here is a quick rundown on the new faces representing the region in Washington:
■ Ayanna Pressley
District: Massachusetts Seventh District (Boston, Cambridge, Somerville)
Quick take: Pressley, a Boston city councilor, did something that is never supposed to happen in Massachusetts politics: She took on an incumbent instead of “waiting her turn.” In September, Pressley soundly defeated 10-term US Representative Mike Capuano. Part of her pitch was that she better understood the constituents of the only majority-minority congressional district in New England.
■ Lori Trahan
District: Massachusetts Third District (Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill)
Quick take: Trahan, of Westford, made it out of a very crowded Democratic primary (surviving a recount no less) to replace Niki Tsongas, a Lowell Democrat, who was retiring. Trahan knows a thing or two about the job. She once served as chief of staff to Marty Meehan, who held this congressional seat before Tsongas.
■ Chris Pappas
District: New Hampshire First District (Manchester, Portsmouth, Laconia)
Quick take: Pappas won a crowded Democratic primary to replace retiring Democrat Carol Shea-Porter. He represents the swingiest swing district in the country, given how it has bounced back and forth between parties in the last dozen years. Prior to running for Congress, he was a state representative and an executive councilor, where he represented a fifth of the state. He runs the family restaurant, the Puritan, in Manchester, home of chicken tenders known around the state.
Of note: He is the first openly gay member to ever be elected to Congress from New Hampshire.
■ Jared Golden
District: Maine’s Second Congressional District (Lewiston, Bangor, Augusta)
Quick take: Golden ousted the only Republican US House member in all of New England. A leader in the state House, a Marine, and a former staffer for Republican US Senator Susan Collins, Golden ran as a moderate and still vows that he will not support Nancy Pelosi for House speaker, even though she doesn’t face competition.
Of note: He is the first US House member in history to be elected by a process of ranked-choice voting.
■ Jahana Hayes
District: Connecticut Fifth District (Meriden, New Britain, Danbury)
Quick take: Hayes was honored by President Obama as the national Teacher of the Year. She used that background — and her own up-from-the-bootstraps beginning — to win a highly contested Democratic primary to replace retiring Democrat Elizabeth Etsy.
Of note: She is the first African-American woman to ever be elected to Congress from Connecticut.