Seven new members of Congress to watch

With the 2014 midterm elections all but wrapped up, the Monitor looks at which new members of Congress could make the most waves.

7. Elise Stefanik

Steve Jacobs, The Post-Star/AP
Elise Stefanik celebrates her win in the 21st Congressional district on election night at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, N.Y., Nov. 4, 2014.

In a midterm election defined in part by its attention to women voters and their issues, Republican Elise Stefanik focused the majority of her campaign on the economy and reducing partisanship. In the process, she became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

Ms. Stefanik, 30, comfortably won New York's 21st District in the House on Tuesday and will go to Congress after a campaign that promised fresh ideas and a young perspective to help break congressional gridlock and invigorate what some see as an out-of-touch Republican Party. Poised to represent a wide swath of traditionally Republican upstate New York, Stefanik is seen as a rising star in a party that has been criticized as too white and too male.

While she hopes to bring a new perspective to her party and to Congress, Stefanik also has an intimate knowledge of the D.C. political scene. Her first job after graduating from Harvard was in the White House – after coming within a few feet of joining a fledgling social networking site called Facebook in college. And she spent years working in Washington think tanks and on Republican campaigns, including as a policy director for the Republican National Committee in 2012.

She was endorsed by several Republican figureheads, including Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, and House majority leader Kevin McCarthy. While she acknowledged in her victory speech that she'd made "a little history," she emphasized that she will be willing to "work with anyone regardless of their party affiliation to get [things] done."

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