Former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 13th district – setting her up to be the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.
Tlaib beat out a crowded field of Democrats to replace Rep. John Conyers, the 89-year-old Democrat who retired in December, citing health reasons. Conyers, who was the longest-serving congressman, made the decision to step down just weeks after multiple sexual harassment allegations surfaced.
“I want people across the country to know that you don’t need to sell out,” Tlaib told supporters early Wednesday morning, according to The New York Times. “You don’t have to change who you are to run for office – and that is what this country is about.”
No Republicans or third-party challengers ran in the election, meaning she is set to run unopposed for the seat in November.
From her campaign platform to her vocal opposition to President Trump, read on for five things to know about Tlaib.
She’s the daughter of Palestinian immigrants
Tlaib is the oldest of 14 children – and she has two boys of her own, according to her campaign website.
Born and raised in Detroit, Tlaib is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. Her father, a former Ford Motor Co. employee, was born near Jerusalem, her mother near Ramallah, a city near the West Bank.
She graduated from Wayne State University and Thomas Cooley Law School.
“It is something that is inspiring to many people – even if you’re not Muslim – to know that a girl like me who grew up poor in south Detroit, who didn’t speak English when I started school, with a faith that is literally being targeted every single day by not only this administration but the media, could run and make history,” Tlaib has told The Detroit News.
“Even though people still may not understand my faith, I expose it in such an impactful way through public service,” she said. “People still cannot pronounce my name, but they remember the things that I do for them.”
“Even though people still may not understand my faith, I expose it in such an impactful way through public service. People still cannot pronounce my name, but they remember the things that I do for them.”
Tlaib said much of her “strength comes from being Palestinian.”
“I will fight back against every racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled,” she said, according to The New York Times. “You deserve better than what we have today with our president.”
At one point, her mother reportedly draped her in the Palestinian flag.
Tlaib has already made political history
Tlaib served six years in the Michigan state legislature until she was term-limited in 2014. She was the first Muslim-American woman to be elected to the state House, according to the Detroit Free Press.
With Republicans in control of the state House, Tlaib was in the minority party. Her district covered parts of Detroit and Dearborn, one of the largest Muslim populations in the U.S.
She also served as the Democratic chair of the state House Appropriations Committee and championed funds for Meals on Wheels deliveries to senior citizens, after-school programs and free health clinics, according to her campaign website.
As a state representative, she also went after fraudulent mortgage bankers and helped hundreds of citizens prevent losing their homes to foreclosure.
While a state representative in 2011, Tlaib took on federal immigration agents who she said “stalked” undocumented parents outside of an elementary school “without warrants.”
But in the congressional election, Tlaib maintains she didn’t run because of the historical significance.
“I ran because of injustices and because my boys, who are questioning their [Muslim] identity and whether they belong,” she told ABC News. “I’ve never been one to stand on the sidelines.”
She got support from Michael Moore, Rep. Jayapal
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., endorsed Tlaib in May.
“She will be a powerhouse woman of color in Congress and a steadfast champion for our values. She’s challenged Donald Trump face-to-face, taken on and defeated the Koch Brothers in her own backyard, and her record of getting results for working people is simply stellar,” Jayapal said.
Tlaib was also supported by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore who often encouraged Michiganders to vote for someone who he called a “bright, shining star.”
She’s a progressive Democrat
Her platform includes Medicare-for-all, raising the minimum wage, protecting unions and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, according to her campaign website.
She was endorsed by the Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America, People for Bernie and Justice Democrats.
Tlaib has long been outspoken about her disagreements with President Trump. Along with a dozen other women, Tlaib stood up at an event in August 2016 – when Trump was just the Republican presidential nominee – and interrupted his speech.
Tlaib told Trump to read the U.S. Constitution and said “our children deserve better” before she said she was removed from the event.
“I’ve never been one to stand on the sidelines.”
“As a responsible parent who continues to reflect and read the criticisms of my actions, I think of my two boys and I remind myself: silence is not an option and it never should be,” she wrote of the demonstration.
She boasts on her campaign website that she took on the Koch brothers. Tlaib was an outspoken opponent of Koch Carbon dumping petroleum coke – or pet coke – along the Detroit River.
“What is really, really disturbing to me is how some companies treat the city of Detroit as a dumping ground,” Tlaib told The New York Times in 2013. “Nobody knew this was going to happen.”
Koch Carbon is controlled by Charles and David Koch’s Koch Industries.
She’s a lawyer who has worked for immigrants
After her time in the state House, Tlaib worked with the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice in Detroit. There, she was “instrumental in organizing campaigns to put people over profits and to build more inclusive communities,” according to her campaign website.
She lists litigating against the state charging a fee for a driver’s license and leading campaigns against anti-Arab bigotry as some of her successes at the Sugar Law Center.
She’s also worked for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, doing advocacy work for immigrants.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.