Congress Gets Some Color: How Tuesday Made Minority History

11/08/2012 10:44 am ET | Updated Jan 08, 2013

This week, we broke all the records. We now have the first Asian American and Pacific Islander majority district in the continental United States, which I've been elected to serve in Congress as the representative of California's 17th District. As of voting day, my campaign utilized over 20 languages* to get out the vote -- an inspiring reflection of America's growing diversity and a testament to how other campaigns in the future will communicate.

This week was a first for Congress. The next Congress will see more Asian American members of Congress than ever before. As chairman emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, this is everything I've worked to create and I'm thrilled to see Congress more diverse than the day I started. (That goes for the more Hispanic American 113th Congress, the first openly gay Senator in history, and the first Asian American woman in the Senate, too.) Congress is slowly, but surely, starting to better represent America.

This week also witnessed a voting first. Having traveled the country during this election, getting out the Asian American and Pacific Islander vote in swing states like Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Virginia, I know that we witnessed the highest voter turnout we've ever seen among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. We moved the dial of democracy forward and we saw more minorities vote than ever before.

This is what democracy looks like: It is a kaleidoscope of language, culture, and color, and what an incredible record-breaking moment this is for America. The rainbow of our races have spoken and we are better as a nation for it.

*Languages: English, Arabic, Cantonese, Dari, Dutch, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Hindi, Pashto, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Uzbek, and Vietnamese.

Rep Michael Honda, representative of Silicon Valley, is vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee and chairman emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.