Rashida Tlaib

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Rashida Tlaib
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 6th district
12th District (2009–2012)
In office
January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2014
Preceded by Steve Tobocman
Succeeded by Stephanie Chang
Personal details
Born (1976-07-24) July 24, 1976 (age 41)
Detroit, Michigan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Fayez Tlaib
Profession Social Worker, Attorney

Rashida H. Tlaib (pronounced ta-LEEB) (born July 24, 1976) was a Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives. Until term-limited out, she represented the 6th District (map), which is located in Southwest Detroit and stretches from an area just south of Downtown to the city's southern border, and west to the city of Dearborn. Upon her swearing in on January 1, 2009, for her first term which she served in the 12th district, Tlaib became the first Muslim-American woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature, and only the second Muslim woman in history to be elected to any state legislature in America.[1]


The eldest of 14 children, Rashida Tlaib was born on July 24, 1976 to working class Palestinian immigrants from Detroit, Michigan. Her mother was born in Beit Ur El Foka, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Her father was born in Beit Hanina, a suburb of Jerusalem. He moved first to Nicaragua, then to Detroit, where he worked on an assembly line in a Ford Motor Company plant. As the oldest, Tlaib played a role in raising her siblings while her parents worked but sometimes relied on welfare for support.[2]

Rashida Tlaib attended elementary school at Harms, Bennett Elementary and Phoenix Academy. She graduated from Southwestern High School in Detroit in 1994, and attended Wayne State University where she received a B.A. in Political Science in 1998. She went on to earn a law degree from Thomas Cooley Law School in 2004.

In 1998, Rashida married Fayez Tlaib. Together they have two sons, Adam and Yousif.[3]

Political career[edit]

Tlaib began her political career in 2004, when she started an internship to the State Representative Steve Tobocman. When Tobocman became Majority Floor Leader in 2007, he recruited Tlaib to be on his staff.

In 2008, Tobocman encouraged Tlaib to run for his seat, which he would be vacating due to term limits. The urban district is 40% Hispanic, 25% African-American, 30% white, and 2% Arab American. Tlaib faced a crowded primary that included several Latinos, including former State Representative Belda Garza. Tlaib emerged victorious, carrying 44% of the vote in the eight-way Democratic primary. The 12th District is overwhelmingly Democratic, and Tlaib won the general election with over 90% of the vote.[4]

In 2010, Tlaib faced a Primary election challenge against Jim Czachorowski in his 1st time bid in politics. Tlaib picked up 85% of the vote, to Czachorowski's 15%. Tlaib also won the General Election, picking up 92% of the vote to second time Republican challenger Darrin Daigle.

Tlaib, in 2012, won re-election to the Michigan House in the newly redrawn 6th District against fellow incumbent Maureen Stapleton. She could not run again in 2014 because of term limits.

Tlaib is one of 10 Muslims serving in state legislatures across the United States. She is the second Muslim to serve in the Michigan State House of Representatives, after James Karoub. Tlaib is the second Muslim woman to serve in a state legislature nationwide, after Jamilah Nasheed of Missouri.[5] She and Justin Amash, a Republican who was also elected in 2008, were the first two Palestinian-American members of the Michigan legislature.

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2008 campaign for State House
    • Rashida Tlaib (D), 90%
    • Darrin Daigle (R), 10%
  • 2008 campaign for State House, Democratic Primary
    • Rashida Tlaib (D), 44%
    • Carl Ramsey (D), 26%
    • Belda Garza (D), 9%
    • Daniel Solano (D), 7%
    • Lisa Randon (D), 7%
    • Denise Hearn (D), 5%
    • Rochelle Smith (D), 1%
    • Nellie Saenz (D), 1%
  • 2010 campaign for State House, Democratic Primary
    • Rashida Tlaib (D), 85%
    • Jim Czachorowski (D), 15%
  • 2010 campaign for State House
    • Rashida Tlaib (D), 92%
    • Darrin Daigle (R), 8%


  1. ^ Al Goldis (2008-11-06). "Rashida Tlaib is first Muslim woman to be elected to Michigan Legislature". MLive.com. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  2. ^ "Metro Detroit | Detroit Free Press". freep.com. 2008-12-14. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  3. ^ About Rep. Rashida H. Tlaib. Housedems.com
  4. ^ "Protected Blog". 
  5. ^ "Rashida Tlaib, First Muslim Woman to Become a Michigan State Representative". Findingdulcinea.com. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 

External links[edit]