Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) says personal loss and political violence were among her reasons to retire after this term.
“My husband looked me in the eye. He said, ‘This is our 50th wedding anniversary. You’ve been doing this for 30 years. When is our time?'” — Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14)
Lawrence has served Michigan’s 14th district since 2015. She was the mayor of Southfield for 14 years before that. Michigan’s only Black member of Congress announced her retirement last month.
Listen: Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) talks about her decision to retire and her priorities this year.
“I had been thinking about it for over a year,” she tells Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today. “Four years of the past administration was challenging at best. January 6th had a direct impact … I lost two sisters in 12 months. I’m the youngest of four siblings and I’m the only one left.”
“My husband looked me in the eye. He said, ‘This is our 50th wedding anniversary. You’ve been doing this for 30 years. When is our time?” continues Lawrence. “Someone said, ‘death by a million cuts.’ It was just continuous issues.”
She says she wants to continue to serve, “but I want to serve in another capacity.”
Lawrence says she also plans to write a book about her life.
“I’m concerned about the lines because it takes the Black population and divides it up in a way that there is a fear that we could have no African Americans representation.” — Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14)
Her retirement announcement came just after Michigan’s new redistricting commission voted on its final political maps. Its congressional map dramatically reshaped districts in Southeast Michigan. However, the new 12th Congressional district appeared to be drawn favorably for Lawrence if she decided she wanted to run for reelection.
However, Lawrence says she is concerned about the new map.
“It takes the Black population and divides it up in a way that there is a fear that we could have no African American representation.”
She also talks about her policy priorities in the time she has left in Congress. As a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service before her time as mayor of Southfield, Lawrence talks about her support for postal service reform. That bill is scheduled for a vote in the U.S. House on Tuesday.
Lawrence also discusses President Joe Biden’s pledge to appoint the first African American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I am absolutely stoked and excited about the women who are being considered [for the Supreme Court]. They are stellar,” says Lawrence.