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Rashida Tlaib Is About to Be the First Muslim Woman in US Congress


Image: Rashida Tlaib For Congress/Facebook

After the United States’ midterm elections in November, Rashida Tlaib will become the first Muslim woman in Congress when she takes her seat representing Michigan’s 13th District. The 42-year-old Detroit-born Democrat, whose parents are Palestinian, was elected handily in Michigan last night in the primary, and will run unopposed in November (Republicans have not proposed anyone from their party for the office). Tlaib, who served in Michigan’s state legislature from 2009 to 2014 before working as an attorney, is also known for being ejected from a speech given by then-presidential nominee Donald Trump in 2016. “He doesn’t love Detroit,” she reportedly shouted. Two years later, she will be able to face him on the Hill.

Tlaib ran on a deeply progressive platform—including Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, and strengthening unions and workers’ protections—in a district previously represented by John Conyers, Jr., the establishment Democrat who stepped down in December due to multiple sexual harassment and misconduct allegations. So not only is Tlaib’s victory one for the Muslim community, which has seen more than 90 Muslim Americans run for office this year, but Tlaib also beat out other Democratic candidates with more centrist politics to win the seat, showing that the leftist movement represented by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York has a chance outside so-called “blue” states. Tlaib was also backed by Justice Democrats, the progressive organization that encouraged Ocasio-Cortez to run, and is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

This year, there are more women running (the “pink wave”) than ever before; the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers reports that “we’ve broken the record for women major party nominees for US House in any year.” This year also sees the most women gubernatorial candidates in American history.

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