Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence announces retirement, will not run for reelection

Lawrence is the 25th House Democrat to retire

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, Michigan's lone black woman of Congress, announced Tuesday night that she would not run for re-election in 2022.

SOUTHFIELD, Mich – Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, Michigan’s lone Black woman of Congress, announced Tuesday night that she would not run for reelection in 2022.

There is no question how much the city of Southfield holds a special place in the legacy of Congresswoman Lawrence’s heart. Southfield is where she made her bones as she sat on the Board of Education, City Council, while eventually becoming the first woman of African American descent to be named Mayor.

Southfield is also the home to one of her favorite accomplishments, the Southfield Library.

“The comment was, ‘It’s the Taj Mahal,’ and I said, ‘hat better for a city to be know for than a Taj Mahal of learning,’” Lawrence said.

In her 30 years of elected public service, Lawrence has quite a few moments that she holds close to her heart.

“I am very proud of the fact that I stood up at a time and said, ‘We needed to build the library of Southfield,’” Lawrence said.

Fast forward to now, where she takes pride in making a difference nationally.

“Appropriating funds for education for health care, for protecting our environment, I’m there to cast that vote in to lead that discussion and to fight for those things that we feel is so important to who we are as America,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence’s district includes parts of Detroit, Southfield, and 16 other cities in Oakland and Wayne counties.

“In each of those communities, this is a wide array of diversity,” said Lawrence. “And one of the things that I felt so good about and still continued to is my ability to sit at any table to have compassion and the ability to speak and listen for the concerns of so many different populations.”

Lawrence is now the 25th House Democrat to retire. The four-term Michigan lawmaker worked her way to the top, which is stunning to most as to why she chose not to seek reelection.

“I love the energy that it takes from you, but it takes a lot,” Lawrence said. “And while I was not intimidated by the district redistricting, it’s appropriate time to allow others to step in this arena.”

The decision was bittersweet.

“I’ve lost two sisters within 12 months,” Lawrence said. I’m the only one of my siblings left, and looking at my mortality and looking at my family who for 30 years accepted the role of coming last over my constituents. It’s time, and I feel really good about the next phase of my life.”

What might that next phase be for Lawrence? Will she continue to serve as she did in years past?

“I want to continue to serve,” Lawrence said. “I want to serve in a capacity of onboards and not nonprofits to be a consultant, and we’ll see what happens, but I definitely can’t go home and plant the flowers, but I do want to plant some roses so I can stop and smell them.”

About the Authors:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.