Tammy Baldwin Makes History; Becomes Nation's First Openly Gay Senator
By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 7, 2012 5:40PM
Wisconsin Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
The happy stories of Election Day weren't relegated to President Obama's re-election. LGBT issues made major strides last night with Maine and Maryland becoming the first states to approve of same-sex marriage by popular vote.
In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin made history by becoming the first woman in America's Dairyland to be elected to the Senate, and the first openly gay Senator in history. The seven-term congresswoman defeated former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson in a race where her sexual orientation to a back seat to the differences in political ideology between her and Thompson.
Baldwin continued to look at the bigger picture this morning, brushing off a leading question from CNN's Soledad O'Brien about if she felt “a personal burden to push forward with a gay agenda" after her election. (Baldwin did say her election makes the Senate "more reflective of America.")
“You know, what I would say in terms of crashing through that glass ceiling is, you know, if you’re not in the room the conversation is about you. If you’re in the room, the conversation is with you. That does transform things. But as I said last night, I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference.
“And my campaign was about the struggle of the middle class, retirement security for seniors, doing right by our veterans when they return home from war. That Wisconsin selected me to face those challenges is historic. But I think it was much more about confronting the very significant challenges that our nation faces right now.”
Wisconsin's senior Senator, Ron Johnson, issued a statement congratulating Baldwin on her victory.
"I congratulate Tammy Baldwin on her election victory. I stand ready to collaborate with Senator-elect Baldwin to help Wisconsinites grapple with federal red tape, promote our great state, and develop real solutions to address the many challenges facing America."