Who Is Kyrsten Sinema? New Details About The First Openly Bisexual Senator From Arizona

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Who Is Kyrsten Sinema? New Details About The First Openly Bisexual Senator From Arizona
Entertainment And News

Who Is Kyrsten Sinema? The wave of women coming to Washington has gained another member with the election of Democrat Kyrsten Sinema to the Senate seat from Arizona. While there was never any doubt that a woman would win that seat — Sinema’s opponent was Republican Representative Martha McSally — the results of the election were only declared on Monday night, nearly a week after the election. New details about the first openly bisexual senator from Arizona.

The results of the election were nail-bitingly close but eventually Sinema edged her way to an insurmountable lead and McSally conceded the race with a video that features her dog.

Sinema has made a name for herself as a progressive-minded politician with a pragmatic ability to work across the aisle. Not only does she have an interesting career narrative, her personal story is fascinating as well.

Who is the new Senator from Arizona? Read on to find out.

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1. Arizona born

Sinema was born in Tuscon in 1976. She’s the middle of three children and her father was an attorney. She was a young child when her parents divorced and her mother remarried. Her mother and stepfather decided to move form Arizona to Florida for a fresh start.

2. Hard times

Once the family landed in Florida, life took a turn. Her stepfather lost his job and the family eventually lost her home. Sinema talks about a three year period in her childhood when the family was all but homeless, saying, "For nearly three years, we lived in an old abandoned gas station without running water or electricity. Sometimes we didn’t have enough food to eat. But we got by, thanks to help from family, church, and sometimes, even the government.” While some have questioned whether the family did have utility service at least some of the time, Sinema says, “I’ve shared what I remember from my childhood. I know what I lived through.”

3. Academic Ascent

Once the family got back on their feet, thanks to assistance from their local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and better employment opportunities, Sinema began to truly excel in school. She completed her high school coursework early and graduated at 16 as valedictorian of her class. She attended Brigham Young University on a scholarship and completed her degree in only two years, after which she moved to Arizona and began working as a social worker. She went on to get a Masters of Social Work degree from Arizona State. Later, she earned a JD form Arizona State Law School and finally wrapped up her formal education with a PhD in Justice Studies from Arizona State. She worked as both a social worker and a lawyer before entering politics.

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4. Politics

Sinema’s entry into politics began in 2000 when she volunteered for Ralph Nader’s Green party campaign for President. She herself made an unsuccessful attempt to run for the state office as a Green Party candidate in 2002. By 2004, she had become a Democrat and won her first election to the Arizona Legislature and won a seat in the state senate in 2010. In 2012, Sinema ran for Congress in a newly created district and won.

5. Author

In between all of those other things, she has found the time to write two books. She published Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win and Last in 2009 and Who Must Die in Rwanda's Genocide?: The State of Exception Realized in 2015.

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6. Bisexual

In her first term in the state legislature, she reacted passionately after a Republican colleague insulted LGBTQ people in a speech. She retaliated, saying, "We're simply people like everyone else who want and deserve respect.”. Later, she was asked why she used the word “we” she replied, "Duh, I'm bisexual.” In 2008, she led a coalition of supporters to defeat a ballot measure that would have banned same-sex marriage in the state. it was the first time voters rejected an anti-gay marriage ballot measure. She will be the first openly bisexual US Senator when she assumes office.

7. Secular

While Sinema was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and attend Brigham Young University, she left the LDS church after college. In 2013, when she was asked to list her religion in a survey of incoming Members of Congress, she chose to have it appear as "none". A spokesman for her office at the time said Sinema prefers a "secular approach" but doesn't put a real label on it. He went on to explain that she "believes the terms 'nontheist,' 'atheist' or 'nonbeliever' are not befitting of her life's work or personal character." Her secular approach to policy has gained her some notice, with The Center for Inquiry, which recognizes legislators who support policy based on scientific thinking, presenting her with its Award for the Advancement of Science and Reason in Public Policy in 2011. In 2010, she was a speaker at the opening of the nontheistic Secular Coalition for Arizona.

8. Iron Woman

Sinema is an athlete in her spare time. In 2013, she completed an Ironman Triathalon and continues to do triathlon events. She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2013. She also plays for the Members team for the annual Congressional Women's Softball Team.

Sinema will be sworn in as Senator in January. In the meantime, she is finishing up her tenure in the US House of Representatives. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.

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