(NEW YORK) — After a hard-fought race in a newly formed Arizona congressional district, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner Monday, becoming the first openly bisexual member of Congress.
Sinema, a former state senator, joins at least five openly gay Democrats who were elected to House seats, and Tammy Baldwin, who became the first openly gay candidate elected to the Senate.
“We’ve made history, and we’re proud of that,” Sinema told ABC News Monday. “But what I am interested in is making history by making things better for the people of Arizona’s 9th Congressional District.”
Arizona’s 9th District makes a crescent around downtown Phoenix, drawing in a large urban constituency. Independents outnumber both Democrats and Republicans in the district, which made the race especially competitive.
Sinema, 36, said she believes her message, which includes creating Arizona jobs, resonated with voters who are struggling in a tough economy.
“My own family, my own life has been the struggle of making it to the middle class,” she said. “This district is a very young district. We’ll always be competitive. Folks will be making decisions on who has the best ideas.”
After a visit to New York City Monday for an evening event thrown by Glamour magazine to honor female elected officials, Sinema said she would travel to Washington D.C., for meetings as she gets ready to move into her new office in January.
“I’m just humbled and excited to start working for the people of Arizona,” she said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio