Defining the 2017 vote

Posted: November 11, 2017 at 2 a.m.

Elections are a measure of where we stand, and in this week's races for statehouses, county seats and city and town halls across the country, voters seemed to be saying: Something has to change.

In choosing new faces, voters threw their support behind groups and issues that have come under attack in the last year--the LGBT community, women, refugees, minority groups, health care, immigration, ethics.

The list of victors is extraordinary in its scope of firsts:

Wilmot Collins, a Liberian refugee who became the mayor of Helena, Mont., making him the state's first black mayor. Manchester, N.H., elected its first female mayor in Joyce Craig, who defeated an incumbent. Kathy Tran, Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala were elected to Virginia's House of Delegates, becoming the first Asian American woman and the first two Latinas to join the body. Also in Virginia, Danica Roem, whose opponent refused to debate her or acknowledge her identity, became the first openly transgender person in the nation elected as a state representative.

Jenny Durkan will be Seattle's first openly lesbian mayor, while Melvin Carter will be the first African American mayor of St. Paul, Minn. Vin Gopal became the first Indian American elected to New Jersey's legislature. Ravinder Bhalla was elected Hoboken's first Sikh American mayor.

In Maine, voters approved a referendum allowing the state to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. On Long Island, Laura Curran was elected the first female Nassau County executive, while Laura Gillen became the first Democrat in a century to win the Town of Hempstead's supervisor slot.

There is a new engagement with politics emerging. Voters across the country have responded to it.

Editorial on 11/11/2017