Youngest black congresswoman says millennial colleagues have 'less fighting over partisan nonsense'

Youngest black congresswoman says millennial colleagues have 'less fighting over partisan nonsense'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodRep. Veronica Escobar elected to represent freshman class in House leadership Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Club for Growth extends advertising against House Dems over impeachment MORE (D-Ill.) said the newly elected millennials in the House are able to reach across party lines and look beyond "partisan nonsense," in a Bon Appetit interview published Monday.  

At 32, Underwood became the youngest black woman ever elected to Congress last year. But she's by no means the sole millennial representing the 35-and-under cohort, with young lawmakers elected by Republican and Democratic voters in the 2018 midterms. 

"It's a wonderful time to be able to do bipartisan work on issues that are so important to folks in our generation," the freshman representative, a nurse, told the magazine.

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Underwood said it's not "necessarily easier" to work with millennial lawmakers across the aisle, but "there's less fighting over partisan nonsense."

"We all agree that top-of-mind issues like the student loan crisis and climate change are a problem, and now we can jump over that argumentative phase and go toward a solution," she said. 

Fellow millennial freshmen lawmakers include Reps. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikImpeachment hearings likely to get worse for Republicans Trump labels Stefanik a 'new Republican Star' Five takeaways from ex-ambassador's dramatic testimony MORE (R-Calif.), Abby FinkenauerAbby Lea FinkenauerSecond-tier Democrats face do-or-die phase Freshman Iowa lawmaker engaged to Warren staffer Iowa Democrat tops Ernst in third-quarter fundraising for Senate race MORE (D-Iowa) and Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillCalifornia governor sets special election to replace Katie Hill Katie Hill writes to former House colleagues about Calif. shooting: 'Speak up for our community' The Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field MORE (D-Calif.), as well as the youngest congresswoman ever elected, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez'Saturday Night Live' presents Trump impeachment hearings with 'pizzazz' of soap opera Louisiana governor wins reelection White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations MORE (D-N.Y.).

But while Underwood's age may aid her in legislating, it also poses some more day-to-day problems. 

Underwood told Bon Appetit she wears her member pin on a necklace — not wanting to poke "holes in all my stuff" — and that Capitol Police have often mistaken her for a staffer.

"So it's like, I have to make eye contact with this person and make sure they see me walking in so we don't have a problem," she said. "I think that is very much a function of being a young, black woman in a space where there hasn't been someone like me—as young as I am and probably look—ever. Every week I get stopped and told I'm not supposed to be where I am."

Underwood said that despite the hurdles, she knows this is exactly where she's meant to be. 

She told Bon Appetit her favorite moment so far has been presiding over the House for the vote regarding protecting pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act. 

The vote was personal for Underwood, a nurse who has her own pre-existing heart condition.

"You know how there are those life moments where you know you're in the right place, doing exactly what you're meant to do?" she said. "I call that living your best life. And I was living my best life yesterday. I was standing there looking at my colleagues, just beaming."