If an item of clothing defines who we are, Democratic Senator Krysten Sinema of Arizona may have done just that. Sinema, who was already known for her love of bright, joyful colors and “hipster” outfits (via Slate), made quite the statement on Tuesday when she presided over the Senate during a confirmation vote for Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations — while wearing a pink sweatshirt that had “DANGEROUS CREATURE” embroidered loudly and proudly across the chest (via New York Post).
The sweatshirt was audacious not just because of how casual it was, but because of how the bold statement stood out in the otherwise stiff-collar, tie-clad, old-boys-club atmosphere of the Senate. And it was loud enough for Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah to walk up to the podium and tell his friend and colleague, “You’re breaking the internet,” to which Sinema simply replied, “Good.” The exchange should have been private, except it was caught by an open microphone on the Senate floor (via Twitter).
Krysten Sinema is a trailblazer
As has happened in the past, Krysten Sinema’s choice of fashion raised a few eyebrows. One social media user went online to ask what many may have been thinking: “On one hand — yay! On the other — isn’t there a dress code for the chamber?” (via People).
But a bold top with an even bolder message wouldn’t be the first time Krysten Sinema has bucked the system. Beyond her love of bright colors, in her clothes and in her hair, and her willingness to bring them to the conservative Senate, Sinema made history with her 2018 Senate win alone. She is the first Democrat to win a Senate race in Arizona since 1976. She is also the state’s first female U.S. Senator — having beaten Republican Martha McSally in the race — and she is the first openly bisexual one at that. Like many Democrats who were elected in 2020, victory for Sinema came after a delay in the vote count and triggered questions about vote rigging from the Republican side (via People).
But the Senator from Arizona isn’t just making waves with her fashion choices — she’s making them with her political stands within the Democratic caucus as well.
Krysten Sinema holds contrarian views
As Politico reports, Krysten Sinema is against the inclusion of the Joe Biden-backed $15 federal minimum wage hike into the coronavirus relief package, because she says it isn’t a budget item and, as such, she feels the provision shouldn’t be there.
Sinema is also a staunch defender of the Senate’s controversial filibuster rule — which requires the minimum vote of 60 members to end debate and move on. With the filibuster rule in place, it will be difficult for the Democrats to move on with any ambitious policy initiatives like the COVID relief package, since its majority comes down to just one vote — that of Vice President Kamala Harris (via Brookings).
Politico says Sinema’s politics align closely with those of fellow conservative Democrat and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. And while her views may be controversial — at least to the liberals in her own party — she has won the respect of her colleagues in the Senate for her ability to listen to both sides and to get things done. As she put it, “Bipartisanship is always my first choice. I also want to make sure that we’re getting stuff done for Arizonans. They need help … and I don’t want to see a process that gets bogged down in petty partisanship, like you did last year for much of the year.”
Krysten Sinema is no stranger to controversy — or to hardship. According to her official Senate profile, when she was young, her family struggled to pay the bills and were even homeless at a time. That struggle taught her to not only value education, but it cemented her desire to help others — regardless of party.
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