Meet the first Indian-American woman to be elected to Congress


Pramila Jayapal emigrated to the US by herself when she was just 16, to attend Georgetown University.

And now the 51-year-old has become the first Indian-American woman to be elected to Congress, after she won a seat in Seattle's 7th Congressional District in a landslide victory on Tuesday night.

Jayapal, who lives in Seattle, won 57% of the vote compared with fellow Democrat Brady Walkinshaw's 43%.

She is a friend and supporter of Bernie Sanders, and the Vermont senator has previously said of her: "When you think of the political revolution, I want you to think about Pramila."

Washington's 7th District encompasses most of Seattle and its neighbouring communities. This makes it not only one of the most progressive districts in the Pacific Northwest, but also one of the most Democratic districts in the country.

Jayapal spent years working as a civil rights activist, and founded One America (previously known as Hate Free Zone) after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to address the backlash against immigrant communities of colour.

The organisation went on to become one of the largest organisations advocating for immigrants and refugees living in the US.

(Elaine Thompson/AP)
Pramila Jayapal speaks at a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Jayapal then became Washington state senator in 2014, and in the state legislature, has been a champion for access to healthcare, as well as common sense gun safety and civic engagement.

Many excited supporters have taken to Twitter to congratulate Jayapal on becoming a congresswoman.

It's brought a small amount of relief to some people on Twitter, with many Democrats still in shock over Donald Trump being elected president.

In a statement on Twitter, Jayapal wrote: "Thank you for your support, faith, and confidence, and for standing up for the values of our country -- values that welcomed me as a 16-year-old immigrant and let me serve as the next Congresswoman from the 7th Congressional District."