Michigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence Becomes 25th House Democrat to Retire Before 2022 Midterms

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
January 5, 2022Updated: January 7, 2022

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) on Tuesday announced that she would not seek reelection to the House this year after four terms representing Michigan’s 14th District, joining a growing list of Democrats to retire before the 2022 midterms.

“Today, after reflecting on my journey—and oh, my goodness, what a journey—and having conversations with my family, I am announcing that I will not be seeking reelection to Congress,” Lawrence announced in a video posted on Twitter. “I’m incredibly grateful for the people of Michigan’s 14th Congressional District who have placed their trust and vote in me—in me, just a little black girl from the east side of Detroit, you made me your congresswoman.”

Lawrence, 67, is the 25th House Democrat to announce they’re retiring before the midterm elections this year.

“This year marks my 30th year in elected public service, and I’ve had the good fortune of serving Michiganders on the local and national level,” said Lawrence, adding that she came to the decision after “having conversations” with her family.

Lawrence, former Southfield mayor, is the only black lawmaker representing Michigan in Congress and the only Michigan Democrat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

She has been in the U.S. House since 2015, representing a district that includes parts of Detroit, Hamtramck, the Grosse Pointe communities, Farmington Hills, and Pontiac.

Being around more for her family was a major consideration for Lawrence, a grandmother whose last living sister died last month.

“As we have a new redistricting map, a new generation of leaders will step up. We need to make sure our elected officials, in Michigan and across this country, look like our communities,” Lawrence said.

“It is not lost on me that I’m currently the only black member of the Michigan congressional delegation—in both the U.S. House and Senate,” she added. “So, whether it’s in the halls of Congress, city halls, or local school boards, representation matters.”

Her announcement comes after Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) formally announced on Monday that he will not be seeking reelection after 15 terms in Congress.

“I don’t want my grandchildren … to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper,” Rush told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I want them to know me on an intimate level, know something about me, and I want to know something about them. I don’t want to be a historical figure to my grandchildren.”

Eleven House Republicans have said they won’t seek reelection this fall, when the GOP is looking to win control of the chamber.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.