Democrat Lauren Underwood today becomes the youngest black woman ever in Congress as new class sworn in

Three new Illinois Democrats will be sworn into Congress on Thursday, part of a blue wave that helped the party win the U.S. House and limited the state’s tally of Republican lawmakers in Washington to five.

Registered nurse Lauren Underwood, 32, of Naperville will become the youngest black woman in U.S. history to serve in the House when she takes the oath. Clean-energy entrepreneur Sean Casten of Downers Grove, another political newcomer holding elected office for the first time, will join Underwood in representing vast swaths of suburban territory in Chicago’s collar counties long held by Republicans. And Jesus “Chuy” Garcia of Chicago will replace longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who was a big voice on immigration issues.

And they take their seats at the Capitol amid ongoing partisan wars over President Donald Trump, his policies and a federal government shutdown that has closed government services across the country.

Democrats will now hold a 13-5 advantage over Republicans in the House, a key advantage with only one election left before Illinois could lose at least one of its 18 congressional seats because of population loss after the 2020 census.

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January 3, 2019 at 05:09AM

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