DETROIT — This week, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) announced her bid to represent her district in Congress for the second time. As of now, no other Democrat has officially announced as an opposing candidate in the 13th Congressional District, where the 43-year-old Palestinian American will likely have strong support from voters.
In an announcement video posted on her Twitter page, the congresswoman recognized this support.
“I just want to take this time to thank the incredible supporters from all over the country, especially here in the (13th District),” she said. “I can tell you, the center of my work has been inspired by all of you believing in the possibility of someone like me serving you in the U.S. Congress.
“My mere presence in the U.S. Congress has transformed lives immediately, because I am talking about bold and radical ideas that fight and combat racism, poverty, pushing back against corporate greed, talking about our broken healthcare and immigration system and so much more that impacts our daily life every single day.”
Tlaib highlighted her work in her announcement, including the launch of several neighborhood service centers across the district. Such service centers act as point of contact for members of her district and drive legislative agendas. Tlaib has centered dignity and justice for all in her overall legislative plan to uplift her district.
Unemployment rates in Wayne County have remained steady, following along a gradual rate of decline over the last 10 years. Many in Tlaib’s district deal with the lack of public resources, underfunded educational services and health and environmental concerns due to industrial capital polluting certain zip codes to the point of uninhabitability. Tlaib has tried to bring these concerns to light, recently bringing presidential candidates to see the effects of oil refineries on the environment for themselves.
“We all need to organize and take care of each other,” she said. “The way we do that is by showing up in 2020, showing up for movement, showing up to tell our stories about our broken healthcare system, showing up to talk about how we need a better educational system, showing up and talking about why we have to do something about the poverty crisis in our country.”
Tlaib has run on a platform of reform and popular ferment around income inequality and the water and air quality crisis in the region. This campaign bid seems poised to be no different, as Tlaib talked of inclusivity and oneness with her voting base in her announcement.
The Arab American News gave Tlaib its inaugural “Person of the Year” award last year. Tlaib is no stranger to media attention and has been outspoken on several key issues that affect her constituents most directly, including the immigration system. Palestine has been another issue Tlaib has often turned to, with the world watching as she gave heartfelt and tearful testimonies on the House floor to the plight of her ancestral home and its destruction at the hands of an internationally recognized illegal occupation.
“Rashida Tlaib represents the struggle of Arab Americans, their aspiration, hopes and fears in these difficult and challenging time,” Osama Siblani, publisher of The Arab American News, said this week. “She is also living proof of what Arab Americans can achieve in this great country.
“That is why we chose her as Person of the Year in 2019.”
Though Arab Americans in her district have diverse political leanings, Tlaib is likely to maintain significant support from the community. A mother of two, she has often talked about her familial links with the Middle East. Tlaib was born and raised in Southwest Detroit, a predominantly Latino neighborhood of the city. She is popular among several local progressive organizations in the area, including non-profits that serve her constituents and labor unions like the UAW. She won her congressional seat in a landslide in November 2018.