Kansas voters made history Tuesday when they selected Sharice Davids to be their next congresswoman.

Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, will be the first Native American woman to serve in Congress — a distinction she shared with New Mexico’s Deb Haaland, who also won Tuesday — and the first openly LGBT person to represent the state of Kansas.

The political newcomer defeated four-term incumbent Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder to capture Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. It’s the first time a Democrat has won the suburban Kansas City seat in a decade.

“We have the opportunity to reset expectations about what people think when they think of Kansas,” Davids said during her victory speech before hundreds of supporters at the Embassy Suites in Olathe. “We know there are so many of us who welcome everyone, who see everyone and who know that everyone should have the opportunity to succeed.”

With 616 of 628 precincts reporting, Davids had 54 percent of the vote to Yoder’s 44 percent.

“It’s significant beyond Kansas,” said Davis Hammett, an LGBT rights activist from Topeka. “This is significant to all LGBT folks in the Midwest. She really feels like the voice for all the LGBT folks in the Midwest. And I know that there’s a similar feeling in Native American communities.”

Davids’ campaign benefited from anger against Republican President Donald Trump in a district that went for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the previous election, but she also took steps to engage voters that had felt ignored by previous Democratic nominees to pull off a victory that may have seemed improbable a year ago.

Davids spent five years working on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota before being selected for the prestigious White House fellowship program in 2016. The people who knew her on Pine Ridge have been watching the Kansas race closely.

“To see an indigenous woman in leadership would be a source of inspiration for a lot of young people here,” said Liz Welch, who worked with Davids at the Thunder Valley Community Development Corp., a nonprofit that built housing on the reservation.

Davids joins a line of other Native American trailblazers to come from Kansas. Her election to Congress comes 90 years after Kansan Charles Curtis, a member of the Kaw Nation, was elected vice president, serving under Herbert Hoover.

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