With 2013 starting, I wanted to give you some names to watch out for this coming year and the years ahead. This way if somebody mentions them, you, at least, have an idea about them. For the most part, they're going to be those who are freshmen in Congress and other interesting people.
House of Representatives:
1. Mark Takano- Takano received an endorsement from Bill Clinton. He is an openly gay Asian-American from California. Takano is the first, openly, gay minority in Congress.
2. Eric Swalwell- is one of the younger members of Congress. He was not endorsed by the Democratic party as he ran against a long-time Democratic incumbent. He is considered by most to be more fiscally conservative than many Democrats and if he wants to be re-elected, he will have to separate himself from the pack.
3. Kyrsten Sinema- she is the first openly bisexual member of Congress. She was raised in a Mormon household. She ran as a Green Party canidated in the past and was honored by the Sierra Club. My guess is that she'll be a consistent target by Fox News and others in Conservative punditry. The campaign against her was ugly and accused her of practicing pagan rituals. So, that's fun.
4. Mark Pocan- Pocan is from the 2nd Congressional District in Wisconsin, replacing Tammy Baldwin, who ran for Senate. Pocan is an openly gay member of Congress and his election marks the first time that a district went from one openly gay representative to another. Even more interesting, Wisconsin banned gay marriage in 2006. Very interesting.
5. Joseph Kennedy III- I'm just so glad that Kennedys are still involved in politics. The grandson of Bobby Kennedy is the Congressional representative in Massachusetts replacing the retired Barney Frank. Kennedy looks like Bobby. He is also one of the youngest members of Congress.
6. Tulsi Gabbard- Gabbard is the first Hindu member of Congress. She beat a homeless handyman in her election. I can't make this up.
7. Patrick Murphy- Murphy, as far as I can tell, is the youngest member in Congress. Murphy is also interesting because he defeated Tea Party favorite Allen West in the election despite being outspent nearly 4 to 1. Impressive.
8. Joaquin Castro- the twin brother to Democratic rising star Julian. Which makes us wonder, can twin brothers run for the presidency and vice-presidency? What happens if one is better at debating than the other? Imagine the controversy. But, anyways, Castro is a good fundraiser and potentially could make some news in Washington.
1. Elizabeth Warren- Warren is my current favorite for winning the Democratic nomination in 2016. This is her first term as Senator but she is a former Harvard professor. She defeated Scott Brown in this election. Warren's big calling card has been her efforts to help reform the financial market. We'll see what she does in the next few years. I imagine it will be enough that we forget all about talking about her Native American heritage.
2. Tim Kaine- Kaine is the former Governor of Virginia. In Virginia, they have a one-term term limit for governors. Kaine is the junior Senator in Virginia. But Kaine has a lot of name recognition in Virginia and could be mentioned frequently over the next year or so.
3. Tammy Baldwin- is the first openly gay woman in the Senate. She was a former member of Congress. Baldwin is a hard-working progressive and will definitely be mentioned in the more Democratic upper house of the legislature.
4. Angus King- King is another name to watch out for, especially on the financial reform front. People have already suggested that Warren and King work together to help institute reform.
1. Julian Castro- Castro kind of burst onto the scene by being the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention, a title Barack Obama had done previously. Castro is the mayor of San Antonio. Some people have thrown out his name as a potential candidate for the 2016 presidency. My response has been to wait for him to gain more experience. We saw how Rudy's presidential run worked, so let's relax before we assume a person who is a mayor will be running for President without any other political experience.
2. Cory Booker- Booker gets in the news a lot for being a mayor. He had a, slight, feud with Conan O'Brien. He was in the running for a cabinet position. He also rescues people from fires and shovels people's driveways, among other things. Booker, apparently, was contemplating running for governor against Chris Christie but, reportedly, the Obama administration told him to run for Senate because it would prove to be more effective for them if he ran for Senate. According to Public Policy Polling, Booker would be likely to win the seat as a Senator if he chose to run. He is currently exploring a run. Booker will, likely, be mentioned over the next year.
There are a lot of other names that will be mentioned, obviously. There are certainly more important people I could have put on here but these are just some fresh names to look at and know for the years ahead.