Rashida Tlaib

Rashida Tlaib

Rashida Harbi Tlaib

Rashida Harbi Tlaib

Rashida Harbi Tlaib (/təˈliːb/ tə-LEEB; born July 24, 1976) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the U.S. representative for Michigan's 12th congressional district. She is the first Palestinian American woman to serve in Congress and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

Early life and education

Rashida Harbi was born in Detroit on July 24, 1976, the eldest of 14 children born to working-class Palestinian immigrants. Her mother was born in Beit Ur El Foka, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Her father was born in Beit Hanina, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem. He moved first to Nicaragua, then to Detroit. He worked on an assembly line in a Ford Motor Company plant. As the eldest, Tlaib played a role in raising her siblings while her parents worked.

Michigan House of Representatives

Tlaib began her political career in 2004 when she interned with State Representative Steve Tobocman. When Tobocman became Majority Floor Leader in 2007, he hired Tlaib to his staff. In 2008 Tobocman encouraged Tlaib to run for his seat, which he was vacating due to term limits. The urban district is 40% Hispanic, 25% African-American, 30% non-Hispanic white Americans, and 2% Arab American. Tlaib faced a crowded primary that included several Latinos, including former State Representative Belda Garza. She emerged victorious, carrying 44% of the vote in the eight-way Democratic primary and winning the general election with over 90% of the vote.

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