Candidate name: Rep. Brenda Lawrence

State: Michigan

Bio: From mail carrier to mayor to member of Congress, Rep. Brenda Lawrence has had a nontraditional journey to Capitol Hill. After earning a B.A. in public administration from Central Michigan University, the Michigan native embarked on a 30-year career with the U.S. Postal Service. Along the way, her involvement as an active member of the PTA led to a post on the local board of education. Lawrence was later elected to the Southfield City Council, becoming president in 1999. When she was elected mayor in 2001, she became Southfield’s first African American and first woman to serve in that post.

Following a run in 2010 for lieutenant governor of Michigan, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014. Lawrence serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and holds a leadership role in the Congressional Black Caucus. Her campaign themes include jobs, increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, enacting paid sick leave and supporting student-loan bailout legislation.

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