About Rashida Tlaib
I like to call myself a mother working for justice for all. My two young sons are the root of my unwavering passion to help change lives for the better, because I do not want them to face the same struggles I have. As the oldest of 14 children, born and raised in Detroit, and the proud daughter of working-class Palestinian immigrant parents, I have always understood the importance of family, hard work, and looking out for others. The people I represent become my family, and I fight for them like I have fought for my siblings and parents my whole life.
In 2008 I made history by fighting through a crowded field in my first race for State Representative and becoming the first Muslim woman to ever serve in the Michigan Legislature. It was a victory not just for me, but for everyone who looks like me, and everyone who has been told a dream is impossible because of the color of their skin or the way they talk. My proudest moment was not actually winning the election—it was my mother coming to me after I won and telling me I inspired her to read and write English. My campaigns are about more than winning, they are about inspiring everyone to believe that they deserve better and have a powerful voice.
Serving in the U.S. Congress is about much more than voting, it is about taking on the bullies and demanding that government work for the people, even when it is unpopular. For too long we have coddled politicians who focus on making a name for themselves instead of making a difference. I have worked with the residents of my districts and as public interest lawyer at the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice to take on corporate billionaires and crony capitalists, industrial polluters, and government officials who would prefer to be unaccountable to the people. We formed block clubs, ran campaigns for environmental justice and public health and safety, built coalitions to take on powerful special interests, filed lawsuits and won injunctions, and passed laws that changed lives and communities for the better.
In Lansing, I secured millions of dollars for free health clinics, lead abatement, Meals on Wheels programs for seniors, before and after school programs, and bilingual education. I authored laws to protect homeowners from fraudulent mortgage bankers and tax preparers and to stop scrap metal thieves from looting Southeast Michigan’s homes and businesses. My legislative agenda was driven by the concerns residents shared with me every day, not by lobbyists or donors. To put my money where my mouth was, I ran a transformative Neighborhood Service Center where we saved hundreds of families from losing their homes to foreclosure, secured over $1 million in tax refunds by providing my working-class residents with free tax preparation, assisted residents in becoming U.S. citizens, and even led an organizing effort with local residents to drive a notorious drug dealer out of their neighborhood.
It is never about me—it’s about us. I get my satisfaction as a public servant from empowering regular people to make the changes they want to see in their lives. When I took on the Koch Brothers and forced them to remove toxic petcoke from the banks of the Detroit River, my neighbors lead the charge. When I stood up to Donald Trump at the Detroit Economic Club, I was escorted out of the room alongside people who were inspired to speak out against hate. I hope you will join me on this new journey to the U.S. Congress so that we can roll up our sleeves together and make government work for all of us. I will bring the bullhorn.