State Watch

Marilyn Strickland first woman sworn into Congress wearing traditional Korean hanbok

Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.), who last year became one of the first Korean American women to win election to Congress, was sworn in on Sunday wearing a traditional Korean hanbok. 

Strickland’s office said she is the first representative to wear a hanbok during her swearing-in ceremony, doing so in “honor of her maternal heritage.”

“As a woman of both Korean-American and African-American descent, it was deeply personal to wear my Hanbok, which not only symbolizes my heritage and honors my mother, but also serves as a larger testament to the crucial importance of diversity in our nation, state, and the People’s House,” the freshman lawmaker said in a statement.

Strickland made history last November when she became one of the first three Korean American women to win election to the House. She is also the first African American to represent her state at the federal level and one of a record number of Black women to secure congressional seats last year.

Strickland said on Sunday that she looks forward to working with her “colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, the Washington Delegation, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and across the aisle” in the interests of her district.

“The people of my district made history by sending me here to ensure that their government successfully addresses the priorities of WA-10, including tackling this pandemic, rebuilding our economy, creating jobs by investing in the South Sound, solving the climate crisis, and lowering the cost of health care,” she said. 

Strickland previously served as mayor of Tacoma, Wash., becoming the first Black woman to do so. She also worked at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, where she served as CEO before going on to run for Congress after Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) announced he was retiring in 2019. 

Tags African-American women in politics Denny Heck korean americans Marilyn Strickland

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