Rashida Tlaib is set to become first Palestinian-American Congresswoman following her victory in the primary election for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District.
The 42-year-old daughter of Palestinian father born in Jerusalem and mother born in Ramallah, Tlaib is virtually guaranteed to become the first Muslim women in Congress. She will run unopposed in November’s special elections in a seat which the Democrats have held since 1949.
The Detroit born attorney won 33.2 per cent of the votes as of this morning, the New York Times reported with 96 per cent of the votes being counted. The first runner-up, Brenda Jones, trails her by more than 3,000 votes.
While Tlaib is perfectly poised to take the former seat of John Conyers, the Democratic congressman who left his seat last December following a scandal, she is not new to politics. She was a member of Michigan’s State House of Representatives from 2008 to 2014.
After hitting her term limit in Michigan, Tlaib worked as an attorney at the Sugar Law Centre for Economic and Social Justice, which fights for employee rights. She is also an outspoken critic of Donald Trump and became famous for being forcibly removed for heckling him at a luncheon two years ago.
According to Business Insider Tlaib later said she had been protesting Trump’s attitudes toward immigrants and Muslims. “I have heard critics calling it unbecoming of a former state legislator,” she wrote in the Detroit Free Press. “Well, I believe it is unbecoming of any American to not stand up to Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric and tactics.”
In June, Tlaib protested the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Trump’s controversial travel ban, and a local news report showed her breaking up a fight between a protester and a passer-by. She vowed to introduce legislation to repeal the decision upon her election, CNN reported.