Rashida Tlaib, the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary race in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, is expected to become the first Muslim woman ever elected to Congress.
Tlaib joined “Morning Joe” co-host and Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski the day after her historic win to explain why she’s running and how she intends to help women step up and make their voices heard.
“I’m tired of being outside the ring,” she told Brzezinski, as well as “Morning Joe” co-host Willie Geist, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Lemire and MSNBC contributor Zainab Salbi. “A lot of us are going through what I believe is a troubling time in history where we feel like we don’t belong, or we feel left behind no matter your background.”
The former state representative, whose district includes portions of Detroit, hopes to address the needs within her community through action, not just rhetoric. “I’m going to create neighborhood service centers where getting people through everyday issues [will] go hand in hand with the legislative work that I do … They are going to be able to say, ‘Yes, she represents my values, she represents what I’m about.’”
Tlaib addressed questions about her background as a Muslim woman in a predominately African-American and white district: “So many of us only want to be able to label people – she’s a child of immigrants, she’s Palestinian, she’s Arab, she’s a woman. But for many of them, I’m a girl that grew up in Wayne county just like them.”
She echoed that sentiment and the urgency for a more inclusive national discourse as well. “Our country is not divided – I truly believe we’re disconnected,” Tlaib said. “That disconnection is why President Trump and all the different people surrounding him continue to be loud … and divide us. It’s because we aren’t talking to each other, and I’m hoping to build a lot of that connection so that people can see how beautiful our country is.”
The 42-year-old mother of two suggested one way to move that discourse forward: elect more women to Congress.
“People laugh at me when I say, ‘Clear out the room boys, it’s time for us.’ Because I truly believe – I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat woman – if you put us in a room to deal with and fix the gun crisis, we’d probably do it in a few hours,” she said. “We’re so much more courageous when it comes to issues that are personal to us, and I’m really hoping that we really fill the halls of Congress with moms like me – with people that are so much more focused — because we have so much more at stake when we’re not in the room.”