Checking out Progressive Punch's rankings for the U.S. Senate gives some reason for optimism in D.C.
Sens. Tammy Baldwin (WI), Mazie Hirono (HI) and Chris Murphy (CT) are tied for first:
And they are just getting started. All three are in the first year of their initial six-year Senate terms.
They aren't just voting well. They have all introduced promising proposals.
Sen. Baldwin, the first openly gay Senator, helped pass the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act:
To protect our children, we need to take a comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence. That includes efforts to make schools safer and increase access to mental health services so people struggling with mental health problems get the help they need before crisis situations develop.Sen. Hirono, just the second woman of color elected to the Senate, has been a leading progressive voice on immigration reform. She's introduced several amendments during the Judiciary Committee's markup of the Gang of Eight bill:
. . . one of these amendments is particularly close to my heart: It would make DREAM Act students eligible for federal financial aid.Sen. Murphy, who at 39 is the youngest Senator, took office just days after the Newtown tragedy and has been a stalwart advocate of improved gun safety since then:
Right now, students who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own ("DREAMers") can't get access to any federal aid. No work-study. No government-backed student loans. Nothing.
We know now that there are little boys and girls alive in Newtown today because the gunman had to stop and switch magazines. A ban on military-style high capacity magazines, like the one we are proposing, will save lives in episodes of mass violence. A full two-thirds of Americans support this common sense measure—it’s time that Members of Congress remember who they represent here, do the right thing, and pass this bill.Four other new members of the U.S. Senate rank in the top 20: Brian Schatz (HI) at 11, Richard Blumenthal (CT) at 15, Elizabeth Warren (MA) at 17 and Mo Cowan (MA) at 19.
Granted, the rankings are subjective and, like all statistically based measurements, don't fully illustrate someone's worth. And the current stalemates in Congress tend to not generate much hope for legislative progress. But maybe, just maybe, these freshmen Senators can lead their colleagues on a better path.