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Six Native Politicians Currently Serving in Congress

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Native Representation Matters

This past election was groundbreaking for Native communities in the United States. A record breaking six Native American politicians were elected into Congress. Regardless of the party they represent, having first-hand Native voices in positions of power is a victory worth celebrating. Keep reading to learn more about the six politicians currently serving in Congress, and stay tuned for a future list to celebrate our Tribal leaders here in the United States.

Deb Haaland Portrait
Photo courtesy of https://haaland.house.gov/photos

1. Deb Haaland

(Laguna Pueblo)
Democrat | 54th United States Secretary of the Interior

Born in Winslow, Arizona, Deb Haaland served as the state’s vote director for Native Americans during Obama’s 2012 campaign and as the Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico Native American Caucus from 2012 to 2013. In 2015, Haaland was elected to a two-year term as the Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

Fun Facts:
  • One of the first two Native American women elected to the United States Congress
  • Has a daughter, Somáh, whom she raised on her own
  • Hobbies include marathon running and gourmet cooking
  • Ran her own business producing and canning Pueblo Salsa
Sharice Davids
Photo courtesy of https://davids.house.gov/

2. Sharice Davids

(Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin)
Democrat | U.S. Representative from Kansas' 3rd congressional district

Born in West Germany, Sharice Davids was raised by a single mother and worked her way from Johnson County Community College to Cornell Law School all the while juggling multiple jobs. In 2016, she worked as a White House Fellow in the Department of Transportation during the transition between the Obama and Trump administrations.

Fun Facts:
  • Professional mixed martial artist in the 2010s.
  • Opened her own business, Hoka Coffee in 2013.
  • First openly LGBT Native American elected to congress.
Photo courtesy of https://cole.house.gov/

3. Tom Cole

(Chickasaw)
Republican | U.S. Representative from the 4th district of Oklahoma

Tom Cole was born in Shreveport, LA. He was a former college instructor teaching history and politics and has earned a B.A., an M.A. and a Ph.D from Grinnell College, Yale University and the University of Oklahoma. Cole is serving his tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and resides in Moore, Oklahoma. Cole has made the most of his time, serving on the powerful House Appropriation Committee and as the State Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party. 

Fun Facts:
  • Inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004
  • Tom and his wife, Ellen, have one son, Mason
  • Recognized by the National Congress of American Indians for his service
  • Awarded with the Congressional Leadership award in 2007, 2011 and 2017
Markwayne Mullin
Photo courtesy of https://mullin.house.gov/photos/

4. Markwayne Mullin

(Cherokee)
Republican | U.S. Representative from the 2nd district of Oklahoma

Mullin was born and is currently living on the original allotment land that his family received as Cherokees in Westville, Oklahoma. He earned a degree in Applied Science in Construction Technology from Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology college. Mullin is currently serving as the co-chair on the House Energy Action Team or HEAT. 

Fun Facts:
  • Attended Missouri Valley College on a wrestling scholarship
  • Founded multiple successful companies such as: Mullin Plumbing, Mullin Environmental, Mullin Services, Mullin Properties, and Rowan’s Steakhouse
Photo courtesy of https://www.yvetteherrell.com/

5. Yvette Herrell

(Cherokee)
Republican | U.S. Representative from the 2nd district of New Mexico

Yvette Herrell currently lives in her hometown of Ruidoso, New Mexico. She has served four terms in the New Mexico House of Representatives. She was endorsed by representatives of New Mexico’s Second District, former Democratic Congressman Harry Teafue and former Republican Congressman Steve Pearce.

Fun Facts:
  • An entrepreneur who has owned & operated several successful small businesses
  • The New Mexico Business Coalition awarded Herrell with the Hero of the Year award in 2015
Kaialiʻi (Kai) Kahele
Photo courtesy of https://www.kaikahele.com/media/

6. Kaialiʻi (Kai) Kahele

Hawaiian Native
Democrat | Hawaiʻi State Senate

Kaialiʻi (Kai) Kahele resides in his hometown in Hilo, Hawaii. After his father’s death in February of 2016, Kahele was appointed by Governor David Ige to the Hawaii State Senate. He is currently serving as the Majority Floor Leader of the Hawaii State Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Water and Land. He earned a B.S. in education at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Fun Facts:
  • Logged over 2,000 hours of military flight time
  • Former executive director of a non-profit that serves rural Native Hawaiian families in South Kona
  • Member of the UH Rainbow Warriors Men’s Volleyball Team
  • Commercial airline pilot with Hawaiian Airlines
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