In her election-night victory speech, Wisconsin’s senator-elect, Tammy Baldwin, said she didn’t run to make history. But because she’s the first openly gay US senator and her state’s first female senator, her election is historic nonetheless.
The Democrat, who previously served in the US House, has been openly gay her entire political career. Baldwin’s sexual orientation was a non-issue during the 2012 campaign, even in a state with a same-sex-marriage ban and one of the nation’s most conservative governors. Not only does Baldwin bring the Senate a step closer to fully representing the electorate, but she symbolizes the broader social sea change under way across the country.