Politics & Prejudices
Tale of two Michigans
The movers and shakers went to Mackinac. What about those left behind?
Published: June 6, 2012
Sound advice, perhaps. But I couldn't help thinking of the lunch I'd had the week before with state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, in her downscale district along the Detroit River. She is a 35-year-old Muslim woman, the eldest of 14 children, who put herself through college and law school. She fought Matty Moroun before that was cool. But she also has served notice any new bridge better contain some benefits for her impoverished Delray citizens. While the prime movers soared above the clouds on Mackinac, Tlaib was stuck back in Lansing, trying to get a bill passed regulating scrap metal dealers.
Among other things, she wants to make it illegal for them to buy "burnt copper," which is what lowlifes dig out of homes they've burned down so they can dig copper out and sell it to get a fix.
In her spare time, she is campaigning hard to try to win the August primary. It is an uphill battle; the lines were redrawn to throw her in the same district with Maureen Stapleton.
Most of the district was Stapleton's turf before, but Tlaib is fighting hard. She represents mainly people invisible to the high rollers at Mackinac, people who don't do Internet startups or salsa companies, and whose boats are seldom lifted by even the highest economic tide. Except that doing something for them may, in the long run, be critical for us all to survive. Frankly, I'd be a little more impressed with the Mackinac conference next year if they invited Rashida Tlaib too, and really listened to what she had to say.
> Email Jack Lessenberry