From Black New.com
CHICAGO, IL — Lauren Underwood, a 32-year-old African American registered nurse, has made history as the youngest Black woman to be elected to Congress. In her new role in Congress, she hopes to use her skills and experiences to fight for people who don’t have access to affordable health care.
On Thursday, 116th Congress was sworn into office and it made history as the most diverse group having 127 women. One of those is Lauren Underwood, who also made history as the youngest Black woman in the Congress. She won as the representative of Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.
Underwood earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan and graduated as Magna cum Laude. She then took her Masters program at Johns Hopkins University, where she also worked as a research nurse.
Underwood joined the politics in 2010 as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she worked to implement the Affordable Care Act. She was appointed by the Obama administration in 2014 to assist with public health emergencies and disasters, such as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Underwood herself had a pre-existing heart condition she was diagnosed with at the age of 8. The care she received from the doctors and nurses is what actually inspired her to work in healthcare as well. It also gives her an upper hand in understanding appropriate laws and policies for Illinois families.
“I have a two-year opportunity to make a real difference and represent the people of the 14th, and they have placed their faith in me,” Underwood said at a recent Congressional Black Caucus event. “They’ve given us a chance. I have to prove myself, and we will, beginning on day one, where I’m leading an effort to reform this government.”
She has since been excited to be a part of “a moment of history” in the U.S. Congress that she had always hoped for.
“Diversity of thought, geographic diversity, age, race, gender, life experience are all great things that we each bring to this Congress of the United States, and I’m really proud to be part of a caucus where I’m not ‘the only,’” she told the Chicago Tribune.