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Delia Ramirez
Delia Ramirez won by a big margin in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District. Photo: Delia Ramirez campaign

The Midwest has its first Latina member of Congress

Delia Ramirez officially punched her ticket to D.C. and will represent Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

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Delia Ramirez has officially made history after overcoming her Republican challenger Justin Burau in the race for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. 

The race was first called by NBC News, as Ramirez held a 65% vote advantage over Burau with almost 70% of the votes counted.

With the win, Ramirez is the first Latina to ever represent a Midwest state in Congress, and she also becomes only the third Latino to ever be elected from Illinois. The other two were longtime 4th Congressional District Representative Luis Gutiérrez and his successor, current Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García. 

Both García and Ramirez’s districts comprise a majority of Chicago, with the latter’s 3rd Congressional District containing parts of Humboldt Park, and all of Belmont Cragin and Hermosa — all of which are Hispanic-majority neighborhoods.

Because the 3rd Congressional District is centered in a major Democratic hub like Chicago, Ramirez’s general election contest against Burau was little more than a formality before she could officially take the title of Congresswoman. 

In the primary back on June 28, Ramirez was the only woman and garnered 65% of the vote over her fellow Democratic challengers.

A native of Guatemala, Ramirez’s parents crossed the U.S.-Mexico border while her mom was still pregnant with Delia. They settled in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood and Ramirez was born in the local United Methodist Church.

The family lived in the church until Ramirez’s parents saved enough money to buy their own house in Humboldt Park when she was seven years old. Despite the neighborhood change, it was still close to the church, and it remains a part of Ramirez’s life to this day.

She worked there during her college studies at Northeastern Illinois University and not long after graduating, at the age of 21, Ramirez was elevated to be the interim executive director at the church’s outreach ministry known as the Center for Changing Lives.

Ramirez first ran for office in 2018 after a career up to that point of doing on-the-ground work to support the community in whatever ways she could, and was elected to represent her community at the state level in Illinois 4th House District.

“Politics happened to me. Growing up as a volunteer there and then as a director, I constantly saw how local politics played a role in our ability to serve people,” she told AL DÍA in a recent profile.

Now, Ramirez will be able to serve people in her community at the highest level yet in her career.

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