Rep. Marcy Kaptur is poised to make history as she’s sworn in on Tuesday, becoming the longest-serving woman in congressional history.
The Ohio Democrat won her 21st term in office in November, after fighting off a challenge from Republican J.R. Majewski. The 76-year-old lawmaker first won election to Congress in 1982.
Former Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) previously held the record as the country’s longest-serving woman in Congress. Mikulski retired in 2017 after serving in the House and Senate for a combined 40 years.
There were 23 women in Congress when Kaptur began her tenure in the House four decades ago, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics. The 118th Congress includes a record 149 female lawmakers.
In 1983, the year that Kaptur was first sworn in, Microsoft introduced its first computer mouse, “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” was a box office blockbuster and then-President Reagan and Soviet leader Yuri Andropov were co-named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” — before the recognition was changed to “Person of the Year” in 1999.
While acknowledging that “America is becoming more and more representative” in a recent interview with the Associated Press, Kaptur said that her gender didn’t have anything to do with her decision to first run for office.
“I always say I ran as a person from the working class,” she said.