Michigan attorney to be first Muslim woman in Congress


DETROIT (AP) — An attorney and former Michigan lawmaker is looking ahead to becoming the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.

Former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic nomination late Tuesday to run unopposed for the Detroit-area congressional seat long held by former U.S. Rep. John Conyers.

No Republicans or third-party candidates were in the race, meaning the daughter of Palestinian immigrants is set to win the seat in November and begin serving a full two-year term in January.

"I will uplift you in so many ways," she told supporters during a victory speech this morning. "Not only through service but fighting back, against every single oppressive, racist structure that needs to be dismantled, because you deserve better than what we have today in our country."

And she wasted no time in challenging President Donald Trump, calling him a "bully" and adding: "I don't know if he's ready for me."

Tlaib, 42, served in the Michigan House from 2009 until 2014. She defeated five other candidates to win the nomination to run for a full term representing the heavily Democratic district, which covers much of Detroit and some of its suburbs.

Since leaving the Legislature, Tlaib has worked as an attorney for the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice. Today, she said her agenda in Washington will be Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, sustainable environmental policies, public school funding and fair immigration reform.

"This is a huge victory for the Arab and Muslim American communities – it's also a huge victory for the city of Detroit," said Sally Howell, director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

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