Pennsylvania voters on Tuesday did something they had never done before, something they never had the opportunity to do before.
This year, the state had a record eight women on the ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives, and half of them won.
Pennsylvania has never had four women serving in Congress, and a woman hasn’t represented Pennsylvania since 2014, when Allyson Schwartz left her seat in an unsuccessful bid for governor.
And this year, it didn’t have any women serving in Congress. Pennsylvania is currently one of 11 states with no women in Congress.
That will change in January when four Democratic women from the Philadelphia suburbs and Lehigh Valley are sworn in: Madeline Dean, Chrissy Houlahan, Mary Gay Scanlon and Susan Wild.
Their election is significant, according to Terry Madonna, a veteran pollster and political scientist at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.
“They won’t be Trump fans, to put it mildly,” he said.
The women ran on numerous issues, but they also had an anti-Trump message in their platform, even if they didn’t say the president’s name.
Their victory speeches also talked about change and a fight that continues.
“Tonight we’ve changed the face of Congress,” Dean said.
“Our politics and our government have been turned upside down, and together I hope we’re going to turn our country right side up again. This is not the end of our journey. We have only just begun this fight, and we have a lot of work to do now,” Houlahan said.
“Tonight’s not about one candidate and it’s not about one party. It’s about our entire community rising up and demanding representation that will fight for all of us,” Wild said.
“We chose to be a better nation than we were yesterday. Today, we the people reclaimed our government,” Scanlon said.
The four women from Pennsylvania are among 65 across the country who were elected to the U.S. House, as of 12 a.m. Wednesday. Of the 65 elected, 55 are Democrats and 10 are Republicans.
Another 20 were elected in the U.S. Senate and six were elected governor on a night when Democrats took control of Congress and Republicans held onto the Senate.
In southcentral Pa., GOP Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill became the first woman to hold a state Senate seat for a majority of York County residents.
While noteworthy and record-breaking, their victories weren’t unexpected.
Phillips-Hill, an incumbent state lawmaker, ran in an area where Republicans are always heavily favored.
The four women elected to Congress were predicted to win for months, according to polls. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog predicted Dean, Houlahan, Scanlon and Wild would all make it to the U.S. House.
It’s a change that’s long overdue, according to Anne Wakabayashi, executive director of Emerge Pennsylvania, an organization that trains Democratic women to run for office.
“Our government can’t truly represent us without women in office. We can’t expect right, straight, white guys to adequately respond or care about and understand women, people of color and queer people,” Wakabayashi said in an interview with the York Daily Record last month. “Until we’re representative, we’ll never be represented. We will never be as strong as we can be until there are more perspectives.”
Voters on Tuesday made sure Pennsylvania women will be representative and represented in Congress next year.