New Mexico’s First Congressional District is looking to elect its next representative, and all eyes are on Deb Haaland who– if elected– could become the first Native American woman to ever serve in Congress.
“It’s not that we haven’t tried,” Haaland said in an interview with TIME. “It’s not that native women haven’t tried. Ada Deer tried. Kalyn Free tried. Denise Juneau tried a couple years ago.”
Haaland, member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe and former Democratic party leader, won the primary election June 5, securing her spot in the running for November’s midterm election.
In addition to leading New Mexico’s Democratic party, Haaland served as the Native American vote director for President Barack Obama’s 2008 election and volunteered with various campaigns over a span of 20 years.
According to data released by the Center of American Women and Politics and Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, only 20 Native American women serve nationwide as state legislators out of the 1,876 women serving. There are no Native American women serving in congress or statewide elective executive offices.
“Our win is a victory for working people, a victory for women, and a victory for everyone who has been sidelined by the billionaire class,” she said in a Twitter statement on the win.