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Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer becomes Oregon’s first Hispanic member of Congress

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Two Latinas have made history as Oregon’s first Hispanic members of Congress, according to NBC News projections.

Democratic state Rep. Andrea Salinas won her race against Republican businessman Mike Erickson to represent Oregon’s 6th Congressional District while Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a former suburban mayor, defeated Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner to represent the state’s 5th Congressional District.

The NBC News Decision Desk projected early Tuesday morning Salinas will win the 6th Congressional District by about 2.7 percentage points over Erickson.

“No matter who you voted for or what lies ahead, I will be your champion,” Salinas said in a statement to her new constituents. “It’s the honor of my lifetime to be your Congresswoman-elect.”

With 99% of the votes counted in the 5th Congressional District race as of Tuesday morning, Chavez-DeRemer won 51.1% of the votes and McLeod-Skinner 48.8%, according to the NBC News Decision Desk.

The NBC News Decision Desk first projected Chavez-DeRemer’s win on Monday evening.

“I am excited and ready to serve the people of Oregon,” Chavez-DeRemer tweeted Monday alongside a photo in front of the U.S. Capitol. “In D.C. this week with my husband, Shawn for New Member orientation!”

Her win also makes Chavez-DeRemer the first Republican to flip the seat that has been held by Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader since 2009.

Salinas joined the state Legislature in 2017, where she has focused on access to affordable health care, as well as paid family and medical leave, and accurate census counts, according to her biography.

In 2017, she helped pass Oregon’s Reproductive Health Equity Act. The bill helped residents, even those without access to health care under Medicaid, get health services while also codifying the right to abortion in the state law.

“Latinas told us they wanted contraception care, preconception care, prenatal care, postpartum care and they wanted abortion access and they wanted to make their own decisions around that with no government interference,” Salinas, whose Mexican-born father served in Vietnam and later became a police officer, previously told NBC News.

Rep. Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego, at a rally, in Salem, Ore., on Nov. 16, 2021.Abigail Dollins / USA TodayChavez-DeRemer became the first Latina and the first female mayor of the city of Happy Valley in 2010 and was re-elected 2014.

Before that, she served on the Happy Valley Parks Committee and the Happy Valley City Council. Her campaign focused on economic issues, safety and law enforcement issues, among others, according to its website.

According to the History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives collaborative project between the Office of the Historian and the Clerk of the House’s Office of Art and Archives, Oregon had never elected a Hispanic American to Congress until now.

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Nicole Acevedo is a reporter for NBC News Digital. She reports, writes and produces stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com.

Suzanne Gamboa

contributed

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