These 2020 Candidates Are About To Become Household Names

October 21, 2020

Elle: These 2020 Candidates Are About To Become Household Names
By: Stephanie Schriock

Since the election of Donald Trump, 60,000 women from across the country have reached out to EMILYs List expressing an interest in running for office. Some are currently serving in the halls of Congress, while others are still planning their first campaign. We’re grateful to all of them for raising their hand to run. But this election cycle, we want to introduce you to six women from a diverse group of young candidates on the ballot this November. They may not be household names yet—but surely they will be soon.

They are the activists, the healthcare workers, and the leaders who are too often dismissed and overlooked in the halls of power. They are the future of the Democratic Party—rising stars in key state legislative races and women of color ready to claim their place in the U.S. House. Most will make history if they win their races—some already have. And while their candidacies and leadership are the first of their kind, what makes these women so special is their commitment to ensuring they’re not the last. Their lived experiences will result in elected officials who look more like our communities, reflecting the thousands of talented young women who are ready to lead.

Come January, these six women are poised to become change makers at every level of government. Here, get to know them better.

Candace Valenzuela
Running for: U.S. House for Texas’s 24th congressional district
Why you should know her name: Despite being told multiple times that she didn’t “fit the image” of a traditional candidate, Valenzuela defied the odds to overcome homelessness as a child and won a school board seat held by an 18-year incumbent. Now she’s running for Congress while raising two young sons, one of whom is participating in virtual learning, and when she wins, she will be the first ever Afro-Latina in Congress.

Lulu Seikaly
Running for: U.S. House for Texas’s 3rd congressional district
Why you should know her name: Seikaly, a first-generation American, and if elected, the first Arab American congresswoman from Texas, is a formidable employment lawyer who has battled discrimination in and out of the court. She has stepped up to run for office in response to the Trump administration’s racist and un-American Muslim ban. From the House floor to committee hearing rooms, she’ll use her legal experience to fight back against Republicans’ desperate attempts to turn back the clock on our rights.

Sarah McBride
Running for: State Senate in Delaware
Why you should know her name: McBride, a longtime LGBTQ+ advocate who was instrumental in passing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Delawareans, is now poised to become the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the country. McBride has been a trailblazer her entire life, and in 2016, she became the first openly transgender person to speak at a major party’s convention.

Anna Eskamani
Running for: re-election to Florida’s House of Representatives
Why you should know her name: Representing the Orlando area, Eskamani is the first Iranian American to be elected to public office in Florida, where she’s used her platform to keep the memory of the victims and survivors of the tragic Pulse Nightclub shooting alive through crucial community assistance programs. In the midst of the pandemic, Eskamani also made headlines for directly donating her salary to unemployed Flordians and helping her constituents navigate the broken unemployment system.

Mari Manoogian
Running for: re-election to Michigan’s House of Representatives
Why you should know her name: First elected at 26, Manoogian is the first Armenian American to serve in the Michigan House and one of 17 rising stars in the Democratic Party to deliver the joint keynote address at the 2020 Democratic NationalConvention. Since taking office, she has introduced legislation to require equal pay and increase the penalties for texting while driving, as well as a resolution to make Election Day a national holiday in Michigan.

Emilia Sykes
Running for: re-election to Ohio’s House of Representatives
Why you should know her name: Sykes, the second-youngest minority leader in the United States, has enacted real change in Ohio, nearly doubling the number of bipartisan bills passed in the Ohio House compared to the two previous sessions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been a leading voice in calling out racial disparities in health care treatment and introduced a resolution demanding that racism be declared a public health crisis in Ohio.

The future of our democracy is at stake, but it’s young women who are stepping up to lead and enact a vision that holds us accountable to our country’s highest ideals. Now, it’s our job to vote them in.