Democrat Stephanie Murphy, an educator, businesswoman, and former national security specialist is the first ever Vietnamese-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
Murphy unseated 12-term Republican representative John Mica with over 51% of the votes cast in Florida’s 7th Congressional District race.
“When I entered this race, very few people thought we could win. We had a huge challenge ahead of us. We didn’t want to just make a difference. We wanted to make a point. That point is that this county is not going to tolerate dysfunction and deadlock. That every child should have a fair shot at the American dream.”
According to the local news
, Murphy tied Mica to Donald Trump, whose inflammatory comments affected other Republicans during the campaign period. In TV ads, she criticized Mica for taking money from the National Rifle Association days after a nightclub massacre in Orlando.
Murphy’s family immigrated to the United States back when she was a one-year-old, according to NBC News
. Her parents were blue-collar workers who cleaned office buildings at night to support their family. She is the first woman in her family to ever attend college, obtaining a B.A. in economics from the College of William and Mary and an M.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University.
She became a national security specialist in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Now, the 37-year-old works as an executive at Sungate Capital, where she leads investment efforts and implements initiatives in government affairs. She also teaches business and social entrepreneurship at Rollins College.
Following her victory, Murphy expressed gratitude to Mica, including his wife, for serving Central Florida for a long time:
“First and foremost, I want to thank Congressman Mica and his wife, Pat, for his many of years of service. While we may not have agreed on many of the issues, we respect his service.”
In addition, she promised to “work with both Democrats and Republicans” and “always put people over politics.”
Meanwhile, Mica, who easily won the last 12 elections, conceded to Murphy on Tuesday night:
“It has been my honor to serve the district, state, and nation and I’m proud of my accomplishments both in Florida and in leadership positions in Congress.”