Image Credits: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Diversity is a huge and valuable aspect of American culture and politics. We want to elect people who represent the vast population of our country and bring their own unique experiences to the positions they hold.

While the GOP is often the subject of discussions about lack of diversity, according to CNN, “Republicans are by far the more diverse party when it comes to statewide elected officials such as senators and governors. On this front, they leave Democrats in the dust.” So, who are these Republicans who are enriching the party with diversity and new ideas?

1) U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

Chase Stevens / AP Photo

The former governor of South Carolina, Nimrata “Nikki” Haley was the first Indian-American woman – second Indian-America overall – to serve as a governor and the first woman to hold the position in South Carolina. Haley’s platform has always been for a more inclusive and outreaching Republican Party. In South Carolina, Haley is most known for her removal of the Confederate flag from State House grounds and not agreeing to a “bathroom bill” similar to that of North Carolina. Since assuming her position as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Haley has vehemently supported Israeli interests even when it caused conflict with allies.

2) South Carolina Senator Tim Scott

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

One of three African American senators currently serving today, Scott is the first African American senator from the state of South Carolina. Ironically, Scott was appointed to run in a special election by Governor Nikki Haley to replace Senator Jim DeMint. Scott obviously won that election in 2014 and was reelected in November of 2016 for his first full term. Scott is a fiscal and social conservative, who is in support of repealing the Affordable Care Act in favor of a GOP solution.

3) New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez

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Governor Susana Martinez is the first woman to be elected governor of New Mexico and the first Hispanic woman to be elected governor anywhere in the country. Although Martinez initially identified as a Democrat early in her life, she had a “change of heart” over lunch with some Republican friends. Since taking office in 2011, she has maintained moderately conservative social views and fiscally conservative views on issues like the Affordable Care Act. This past year, she was perhaps most well-known for standing up to some of President Trump’s stances during his campaign.

4) Texas Senator Ted Cruz

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Although this time last year it seemed we were all talking about how Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz was born in Canada, he makes the GOP a more diverse place because he is, in fact, the first Hispanic senator from Texas. He is one of three current Hispanic senators. During his presidential bid last cycle, Cruz won over a conservative coalition with his repeal every word of Obamacare health care policy, stances on immigration reform and the proposition of a flat, ten-percent income tax. Cruz defeated President Trump in more primary elections than any other GOP candidate.

5) Former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

AP Photo

Piyush “Bobby” Jindal didn’t garner much support in the 2016 Presidential Election, but even if he flies under voters’ radars, he is extremely accomplished. Jindal was confirmed unanimously to the Department of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation under Bush 43. In 2004, he became the second Indian-American to serve in Congress, and in 2007, he was elected the first Indian-American governor in both Louisianan and American history. As governor, Jindal opposed corporate taxes, the Affordable Care Act and abortion.

6) Iowa Senator Joni Ernst

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Joni Ernst is the first female veteran from any state to serve in the Senate and the first woman from Iowa to serve in Congress. After serving 12 months in Kuwait from 2003 to 2004, Ernst was a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard until she retired in 2015. Since entering the Senate, Ernst has been a strong supporter of cutting federal spending, Second Amendment rights and not setting a minimum wage. Additionally, Ernst co-sponsored “Sarah’s Law” in honor of Sarah Root, who was killed in a vehicular accident by a highly-intoxicated undocumented immigrant.

7) Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao

CCTV Global Business Screenshot

Elaine Chao, Trump’s pick for Transportation Secretary, was probably the least-discussed of his nominees, simply because she was non-controversial. A first-generation Taiwanese-American, Chao has served as Labor Secretary for Bush 43 and Transportation Secretary as well as the Director of the Peace Corps for Bush 41. Chao also spent time working with United Way of America, the Heritage Foundation and Fox News. Fun fact: Chao has been married to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell since 1993.

8) Florida Senator Marco Rubio

AP Photo

For many young Republicans, Marco Rubio, a first-generation Cuban American from Florida, was their candidate of choice for the 2016 Presidential Election. Before he rose to being a presidential candidate, Rubio was the first Cuban American to be the Speaker of the Florida House. Although he was not as competitive with Trump or even Cruz, Rubio built a following based on his story of the American dream, his ambitious political career and his conservative values. Since the election, Rubio gave an inspiring speech on the Senate floor and continues to help the Republican Party through this time of transition.

9) Housing & Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson

Ben Carson/Instagram

Before even entering the sphere of politics, Ben Carson was raised in public housing by a single mother, who made her son read a certain number of books a week from the library. Carson later became an acclaimed neurosurgeon for his work in separating conjoined twins. His 2016 bid for president wasn’t successful, but upon suspending his campaign, he almost immediately endorsed President Trump. Carson is the fourth African American to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

10) U.S. Representative from Utah Mia Love

REUTERS Photo

Ludmya Bourdeau “Mia” Love is the first Haitian-American and the first black woman from Utah to serve in Congress. Since taking office in 2015, Love says that she asks herself three questions before forming an opinion on an issue: “Is it affordable? Is it sustainable? Is it my job?” Love supports pro-life policies as well as Second Amendment and concealed carry rights. This past election cycle, Love condemned Trump’s candidacy as she refused to vote for him and asked him to withdraw. Since his victory, the two have constructively spoken.

After all, capitalism and limited government are principles that anyone – regardless of what they look like or where they come from – can abide by.

[RELATED: 18 Conservative Women Who Have Shattered Glass Ceilings]

Karly M.
FFL CONTRIBUTOR
Karly Matthews is a freshman at Temple University, where she is majoring in political science and journalism while minoring in Spanish. At any given moment, Karly can be found talking about Marco Rubio and advocating for conservative values with a large coffee mug and color-coded planner in hand.