I was the youngest woman in Congress. Here's my advice to those who have taken my place

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

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January 10, 2019

I was the youngest woman in Congress. Here's my advice to those who have taken my place

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By Elise Stefanik,

When I was sworn in four years ago, I was given wise counsel by the previous youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Now, I'm proud to do the same.

Now that the 116th Congress is sworn into office, I am proud and honored to pass along the historic distinction as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress to two dynamic, young women who surpassed my record this past election cycle: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa.

During my swearing in four years ago, I felt overwhelmed and awestruck by the outpouring of genuine encouragement and support from my colleagues. One of the most gracious things that happened to me that week was when I opened up Politico and read a column headlined “How to Be Young and Female in Congress” by former New York representative Elizabeth Holtzman, the previous youngest woman ever elected to Congress. I treasure the wise counsel that Elizabeth publicly imparted to me in that piece, and I promised myself I would do the same to the next guardian of the title “youngest woman ever.”

1. Encourage other women to beat your record.

You will be asked endlessly what it’s like to be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. This record will become the applause line every time you are introduced in public. Savor those moments, you have earned them. But also understand that along with this record is the responsibility to encourage younger women to seek office and have the courage to step into the arena. 

Success means that you serve as a role model for a next generation of women who believe they can run and win at a young age. When asked how long you expect to hold this historic record, the correct answer is “I hope not very long.” 

Click here to read the full article published by USA Today on 4 January 2019.

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