1976-07-12

KYRSTEN LEA SINEMA is an American politician and social worker  born on this date, and serving as the senior United States Senator from Arizona since January 2019. A Democrat, she served three terms as a state representative for Arizona’s 15th legislative district from 2005 to 2011, one term as the state senator for Arizona’s 15th legislative district from 2011 to 2012, and three terms as the United States Representative for Arizona’s 9th congressional district from 2013 to 2019.

Sinema has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University (ASU). She also received a Juris Doctor (J.D) degree from ASU College of Law. And she has a Ph.D. in justice studies from the same university. Sinema began her political career in the Arizona Green Party and rose to prominence for her progressive advocacy, supporting causes such as LGBT rights and opposing the war on terror.

She left the Green Party to join the Arizona Democratic Party in 2004 and was elected to a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 2012. After her election, she joined the New Democrat Coalition, the Blue Dog Coalition and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, amassing one of the most conservative voting records in the Democratic caucus. She won the 2018 Senate election to replace the retiring Jeff Flake, defeating Republican nominee Martha McSally. Sinema is the first openly bisexual and the second openly LGBT woman (after Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin) to be elected to the House of Representatives and to the Senate in 2012 and 2018, respectively. She also was the first woman elected to the Senate from Arizona.

Sinema is considered a moderate Democrat and a proponent of bipartisanship. During the 116th Congress, she voted with President Donald Trump’s position roughly 25% of the time, the second-most of any Democratic senator to serve during the full term. As did all other Democratic senators and a few other senators, Sinema voted to convict Donald Trump in both his first and second impeachment trials. Along with Arkansas Senator Joe Manchin, Sinema is one of the obstructors of removing the filibuster in Congressional debate.

Sinema has credited the government, her church, her teachers, and her family for helping her climb out of poverty. She married, and later divorced, her BYU classmate Blake Dain. Sinema has been reported to be the only non-theist member of Congress, although she herself has rejected such labels.