Famously liberal Vermont is now the only state never to send a woman to Congress

Vermont is famously liberal, home to fiery politicians like Howard Dean and Democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders.

But it now has another distinction that’s making liberals in the Green Mountain State cringe: it is now the only state in the country that never has sent a woman to Congress.

This became official Wednesday, when Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi appointed Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith to the seat left vacant by retiring GOP member Thad Cochran. Hyde-Smith is the first woman sent by Mississippi to Congress.

Up in Vermont, the state’s first female governor, Madeleine Kunin, called it “a little embarrassing to be beaten out by Mississippi.”

Former Vermont secretary of state Deb Markowitz, who served in the position for 12 years, said not having a woman in Congress may be due to the low turnover in the state’s congressional delegation.

The state has a population of only 625,000 and is the second-smallest state in the nation. It only has one at-large representative in the House.

“It's high time we had a woman representing Vermont," Markowitz said.

The state, though, has a higher-than-average percentage of women serving in the state legislature. Forty percent of Vermont’s legislature is made up of women. The national average of state legislatures is just 25 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.