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Hill of firsts on the Capitol

New Mexico elected Republican Susana Martinez has become the first female Hispanic governor of the United States.


Martinez, a district attorney in the western US state for 13 years, won the top job in one of some three dozen gubernatorial polls held the same day as crucial mid-term elections.

Martinez, the Dona Ana County district attorney, won by a margin of 54 percent to her opponent’s 46 percent.

She believes in less government, lower taxes, and personal responsibility. She’s pro-life and strongly supports the 2nd Amendment (to keep and bear arms).

She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and later earned her law degree from the University of Oklahoma.

In South Carolina, a state fraught with a history of racial tensions, Tim Scott became the first black Republican elected to Congress from the Deep South since the 1800s.

The move isn’t surprising given South Carolina’s rich conservative tradition. But Scott ran in a district where white voters outnumbered blacks three to one.

The 45-year-old Scott will be America’s first black Republican congressman since Oklahoma’s J.C. Watts retired in 2003.

The small-business owner says he is especially committed to ending the practice of earmarking.

Scott has enthusiastically embraced other conservative positions, including repealing the 2010 health care overhaul law and reducing federal spending and taxes.

On the Democratic side, Terri Sewell became the first black woman elected to Congress in Alabama.

Sewell, who is from Selma and practices law in Birmingham, won easily in the majority black and Democratic seat.

She said the district needs better jobs and health care.

Sewell was a friend of first lady Michelle Obama at Princeton University and knew President Obama at Harvard Law School.

Marco Rubio, a young Tea Party-backed Republican, was elected Senator for Florida – and gave an acceptance speech fuelling speculation that he could one day be US president.

The victory closed an extraordinary campaign by the former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, whose parents worked as a barman and a maid after arriving in the US in the late 1950s.

He will be Florida’s second Cuban-American senator.

In 1971, Marco was born in Miami to Cuban-born parents who came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.

From 2000-2008, Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives. During this period, he served as Majority Whip, Majority Leader and Speaker of the House.

Since the end of his tenure as Speaker, Rubio has resumed his law practice as a sole practitioner.

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