Meet the politician who could become the first Muslim-American woman in Congress

In the race to win Michigan’s 11th congressional district, you’ll find a new candidate: Fayrouz Saad, running to be the first Muslim-American woman in Congress. Saad, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, got her political start working on John Kerry’s presidential campaign. A progressive liberal, Saad has since worked in local politics and for the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration.

Now, she aims to be America’s first Muslim-American congresswoman. The seat she’s running for in Michigan’s 11th district is currently held by Republican Dave Trott, who announced he won’t be running for re-election.

Saad’s win would be huge in more ways than one: Data from the Pew Research Center shows that women and minorities make up less than 20 percent of all elected lawmakers. This is very slowly changing — the first openly transgender woman elected to office made political history in 2017, for example.

What’s more, over 90% of congresspeople identify as Christian, so Saad would bring some much-needed religious diversity to our representation as the first Muslim-American woman in Congress.

"If we want to have a representative democracy and a representative government, then those have to be elected leaders as well," Saad told ABC.

Saad will spend the year campaigning for her run in the 2018 mid-term elections. She hopes local voters will support her on issues like health care, immigration, and student debt.

She also hopes her run will increase tolerance for Muslims in the U.S.

"This is my opportunity to help them meet one and see that there's nothing to be afraid of. We have so much more in common than we do different," she said.

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