Meet Youngest Woman Elected to Congress

Republican Elise Stefanik is 30 years old
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2015 3:55 PM CST
Meet Youngest Woman Elected to Congress
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., is seen in Ballston Spa, N.Y.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

Among the newcomers to DC this year is Elise Stefanik, a Republican from upstate New York who made history last fall by becoming the youngest woman elected to Congress. How young? Glamour begins a profile by noting that Capitol Hill police stopped her as she arrived for freshman orientation—"they didn't think the ponytailed 30-year-old looked like a member of Congress." But the profile and a separate interview with CBS News make clear that Stefanik is not exactly a political novice. She landed a job in the Bush administration right out of Harvard, and went on to lead Paul Ryan's debate-prep team when he ran as Mitt Romney's VP candidate.

In both pieces, Stefanik credits Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In with giving her the courage to launch a congressional bid at the age of 29. Then came months of driving her Ford pickup all over her district to meet voters and win over skeptics. "People said, 'You're too young. You're not married. You don't have kids,'" she recalls. "But you do your homework. I know the issues." One of her goals—in addition to repealing ObamaCare and reforming the tax code—is to improve the GOP's image with women and to draw more young women in general into politics. "Things won't change unless we have new types of candidates." (More Elise Stefanik stories.)

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