Rashida Tlaib just got re-elected to her second term in Congress. She’s packed a lifetime into those two years. Part of a vibrant class of incoming freshman Democrats who helped shape politics during a critical election cycle. Now, she’s trying to meet the needs of the 13th district during a pandemic, and subsequent economic slide that erased many of the gains of the last decade.
If there were anyone in a position to remind Washington the incoming Biden administration about the needs of Metro Detroit voters, and their importance to his victory, it’d be Rashida Tlaib. Though Tlaib has been critical of President Trump, she has also disapproved of the Democrat establishment. But Tlaib believes these differences should not affect the integrity of the party.
“I told President-elect Biden, the last time he was here in Detroit, I said to him, you know, I may not be your favorite member of Congress, but I want you to know we have the same goals. I’m just on a different timeline. I have to move quicker because I have the third poorest congressional district in the country,” Tlaib said.
Tlaib believes that the Democratic Party should embrace the base. She believes they are supposed to be the party of the people and bring in the poor most vulnerable. She challenges her colleagues to represent their constituents and to bring tangible change to their districts.
“You have to bring your district with you to Washington D.C., but you can do that without silencing districts like mine,” Tlaib said. “There’s many measurable goals when it comes to fundraising, but are we having measuring goals of what constituent services we’re offering, how we’re connecting to our residents?”
Tlaib mentioned that her district, District 13, has been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the lack of urgency among the state and federal GOP officials to expand and extend financial aid has failed people across the country.
“When it’s corporations and airlines, we move with the speed of light. When it’s to confirm Supreme Court Justice nominees, we move with the speed of light. But when it’s to save lives, when it’s to save people from losing their homes, to make sure their children don’t get sick going to school, all of that should have equal priority, but it doesn’t,” Tlaib said.
Bipartisan support for bills like the stimulus package is critical to aiding the American people. Tlaib said that bipartisan support is possible. An example of this bipartisan action was with the passing of the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act to eliminate qualified immunity for police officers. But speed is important during the pandemic, and Tlaib believes that the U.S. government is not moving fast enough.
“Much of this discussion hasn’t, again, moved in the timeline that I think is really critically important for many of our residents across this nation,” Tlaib said. “We failed them already. We’re months and months behind in providing support and making sure that we have their back during this pandemic. And I’m increasingly so distressed by it.”
This post was written by Stateside production assistant Catherine Nouhan