“I think this change is because of the 18- to 24-year-old demographic," Campagna said. "I really think that the attitude of young people regarding voting has changed. We want more minorities, we don’t just want white men speaking for us. I sincerely hope that the country will continue on the right path with that.”
In the N.C. Senate, candidates Mujtaba Mohammed, D-Mecklenburg, and Natasha Marcus, D-Mecklenburg, were some of those recently elected.
Mohammed, a newcomer to the State Senate and representative for District 38, is a first-generation American born to Indian parents. Mohammed said this experience led him to being a voice for underprivileged people, children and communities of color.
"We didn’t really run our campaign against Donald Trump per se or Republicans per se," he said. "My biggest thing was about running for something, and I truly believe that if you are running for office, you’ve always got to be running for something — not against anyone, not against anything — but you’ve got to be running for something."
Mohammed is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Children’s Rights and currently serves as a trial attorney.
"Often times I get these young people of color, these young men who will be sitting in my office, and I ask them what do you want to do with your life," Mohammed said. "And oftentimes they are telling me they want to be the next LeBron James or the next Cam Newton, and I really believe that you can't be it if you can't see it."
Mohammed said children set their goals based on how they are represented in society, so it's important for minorities to be present in government and elected positions.
"For me, with President Trump's election, as an Indian-American, as a son of immigrant parents, as a Muslim-American, I want my children, I want people in our community to be proud of who they are," Mohammed said.
Carolina Alzate, a sophomore at UNC, said she is hopeful the trend toward diversity will continue.
“Because of the current administration, it’s really easy to feel resentment toward the Republican party, even though the Trump administration isn’t representative of all of the Republican party," Alzate said.
Marcus, the senator-elect for District 41, built her platform on working to provide affordable healthcare, advocating for common-sense gun safety reform, making clean drinking water accessible and supporting public education and tax policies that are meant to be fair for working families.
“I ran on the things I believed in, and that’s what I want to work on," Marcus said. "Number one for me is always investing in public education from pre-k through (the) university system."
Marcus was also endorsed by former President Barack Obama. She said, overall, it seems voters were looking for change during this past election cycle.
"I think they were looking for female candidates, different candidates," Marcus said. "They wanted new people, different people that are not entrenched, not bought by lobbyists and not under the thumbs of the GOP supermajority.”
Sarah Preston is the executive director for Lillian’s List, an organization that recruits, trains and supports progressive women to run for public office in North Carolina. Preston said eight of their 20 N.C. candidates are headed to the General Assembly in January, the largest class of new women that have been elected in the organization's 21-year history.
“What I think it really demonstrates is that women both as candidates and as voters really flexed their muscles and showed their power in that last election cycle," Preston said. "Women hopefully will continue to demonstrate how much power they have politically by continuing to run for office and continuing to support other women when they are running for office."