The six candidates for the Democratic nomination to represent Michigan's13th Congressional District are vying to fill oversized shoes.
The seat's previous occupant, for 52 years, was U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., a man whose abrupt fall from grace doesn't erase his decades as a civil rights icon.
The race to replace Conyers is crowded, but a few names stand out: Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, Westland Mayor William Wild, former state lawmaker Rashida Tlaib.
RASHIDA TLAIB is the right choice for this important seat.
The 13th Congressional District race will appear twice on the Aug. 7 ballot: Voters will cast ballots in a special election to fill the remaining months of Conyers' term, and in a primary contest to select the Democratic nominee for the November general election. Because the district is so heavily Democratic, that primary will effectively choose the next member of congress. Voters should choose Tlaib (pronounced TUH-leeb) for both.
Straddling the City of Detroit and the western Wayne County suburbs of Garden City and Westland, Michigan's 13th Congressional District is one of the nation's poorest. Despite the apparent city-suburb divide, Tlaib notes, its residents share more in common with one another than with those in wealthier suburban districts to the north, east and west: Fewer 13th District residents own homes. Schools in many of their neighborhoods are struggling. And 13th district residents are particularly vulnerable to any economic downturn.
Tlaib pledges to direct federal resources to her district when possible and use her public platform to elevate residents' concerns.
Tlaib, who would be the first Muslim woman in the U.S. Congress, understands that she'd be representing a majority African-American district, and says she'll honor that community by ensuring that her staff represents her constituency.
Her roots in social justice and activism are a good fit for the district. She pairs progressive politics with policy know-how; a commitment to social justice with a reputation for solid delivery of constituent services; she's not afraid to unleash fiery rhetoric, but she can also deploy an easy charm that allows her to forge unlikely working relationships with her ideological opposites.