Interview: Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib

BY ON February 18, 2014

rashida tlaibWhat is unique about protecting your district’s resources?

My district encompasses tparts of Detroit, the City of Ecorse, and the City of River Rouge. It is home to some very heavily industrialized areas, including our state’s only oil refinery and large-scale transportation infrastructure — interstate highways and two international border crossings. The area has some of the highest rates of asthma and cancer in our state. Protecting our public health is one of my biggest priorities.

As a parent are you worried about any specific effects of climate change on your children and the children of your district?

Absolutely. I have a two and eight year old boys who love to be outdoors, and my biggest fear is that our lack of action on climate change will impact their health and way of life. I feel that as we see climate patterns change, our air quality will continue to decline, resulting in more respiratory illness.

Why is a bipartisan effort so important to you when working on issues of air quality?

Air has no boundaries. It impacts everyone no matter their political party. The only way to truly address air quality, we must take a unique approach by looking at it as a public health priority. I have worked on a number of legislative efforts addressing environmental concerns (below), and I am always seeking input from others.

  • HB 4278 – eliminate environmental hazards before building a school or acquiring a site for a school
  • HB 4279 & HB 4280 – create littering informants reward
  • HB 4497 – require impact study for issuance of air quality permits in certain locations under certain circumstance.
  • HB 4498 – authorize department of environmental quality personnel to issue state civil infraction citations for diesel pollution
  • HB 4499 – reduce diesel emissions
  • HB 4555 & HB 4556 – establish mining blasting standards & sentencing guidelines (Salt Mine blasting issue)
  • HB 4820 – require containment of pet coke piles
  • HB 4902 – create presumption of liability for contamination of groundwater caused by chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing process

Rashida Tlaib was elected to Michigan House of Representatives in 2008, where she quickly became a leader amongst her peers. Rashida was appointed as the democratic vice chairwoman of the Appropriation Committee, where she serves as the democratic vice chairwoman of the House Fiscal Governing Committee, Department of Human Services, and Department of Community Health Subcommittees. While participating on these valuable committees, she has worked on more than 30 bills combatting poverty, increasing access to human services, protecting our public health and environment, and promoting public safety and consumer protection. Rashida made history by becoming the first female Muslim elected to the Michigan Legislature, and only second in the country. Rashida has been married to her husband, Fayez, for 15 years. Together they have two sons, Adam and Yousif.

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TOPICS: Michigan