Brenda Jones (politician)

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Brenda Jones
Brendajones.jpg
President of the Detroit City Council
Assumed office
January 1, 2014
Preceded bySaunteel Jenkins
Member of the Detroit City Council
At-Large
Assumed office
January 1, 2014
Preceded byKenneth Cockrel Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 13th district
In office
November 29, 2018 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byJohn Conyers
Succeeded byRashida Tlaib
Member of the Detroit City Council
from the 5th district
In office
January 3, 2006 – January 1, 2014
Preceded byKay Everett
Succeeded byMary Sheffield
Personal details
Born (1959-10-24) October 24, 1959 (age 59)
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationWayne State University (BA, GrDip)

Brenda B. Jones (born October 24, 1959) is an American politician from Detroit, Michigan.[1] She is a member and President of the Detroit City Council, to which she was first elected in 2005.

She served briefly as a member of the United States House of Representatives for Michigan's 13th congressional district, having succeeded John Conyers, after winning the 2018 special election to fill the remainder of his term after he resigned in December 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment. Jones is the third African-American woman to represent Detroit in Congress.[2] Her term began November 6, 2018, and ended at the conclusion of the 115th United States Congress on January 3, 2019.

Early life and education[edit]

Jones was born in 1959 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her family moved to Detroit for job opportunities as part of the Great Migration from the South to industrial northern cities during the first half of the 20th century. She attended public schools in Detroit, where she graduated from Cass Technical High School. Her family encouraged education and she earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology at Wayne State University.[3]

Career[edit]

Jones worked for Michigan Bell/SBC. She was elected as a union president of the Communications Workers of America Local 4004 in Detroit.[4][5]

She was appointed as an executive on the boards of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Detroit Transportation Commission.[4]

Political career[edit]

Jones became active in the Democratic Party. She ran and was elected to the Detroit City Council in 2005.[6][7] After being elected to another term, she was elected as President of the body by fellow council members in 2014 in a 5–4 vote over Saunteel Jenkins.[8]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Jones ran for the United States House of Representatives in Michigan's 13th congressional district in the 2018 special election to complete the unexpired term of John Conyers, who resigned on December 5, 2017.

Jones also ran in the Democratic primary for the general election for a full two-year term. The primary is the real contest in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district. This primary was crowded with Democratic candidates and held concurrently with the special election for the balance of Conyers' 27th term.

Jones defeated attorney and former Democratic State Representative Rashida Tlaib in the primary for the special election, but lost to Tlaib by 900 votes in the primary for the general election.[9]

In the week prior to the general election, Jones filed paperwork to run in a last-minute write-in campaign for the general election as an independent, an action that angered some area Democrats.[10]

Jones won the special election with no major-party opposition. She lost the general election to Tlaib, who succeeded her when the 116th United States Congress began in January 2019.[11]

Jones resides on the east side of Detroit, in the 14th congressional district. Members of Congress are required only to live in the state they represent, but it is a strong convention that they live in or near the district they represent.

Tenure[edit]

During the course of the election campaign, questions arose as to whether Jones could serve in her Detroit City Council post concurrently with serving in Congress, an unprecedented situation up to that point.[1][12] An opinion by the Detroit Corporation Counsel, written in August 2018, stated that it was likely possible for Jones to legally serve in both capacities based on state law. The Counsel advised that the United States House Committee on Ethics be consulted to clarify federal and House rules.[13]

Speaker Paul Ryan delayed swearing Jones in until November 29, after receiving guidance from the House Ethics Committee on how Jones could minimize conflicts of interest.[14] She introduced two bills and cast 77 votes during her five-week tenure in the House of Representatives.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Burke, Melissa Nann (October 23, 2018). "Lack of precedent clouds Brenda Jones' bid for Conyers seat". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  2. ^ Weigel, David (August 8, 2018). "Michigan Democrats elect Detroit City Council president to fill out final weeks of John Conyers's term". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  3. ^ Stafford, Kat (August 1, 2017). "Detroit council candidates sound off on blight, neighborhoods". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Burke, Melissa Nann & Hicks, Mark (January 26, 2018). "Brenda Jones seeks Conyers' Congress seat". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  5. ^ "About". Brenda Jones for U.S. Congress. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  6. ^ s-john-conyers-house/1070327001/ "Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones to seek Conyers' U.S. House seat" Check |url= value (help). Detroit Free Press. Associated Press. January 26, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  7. ^ Ferretti, Christine (October 17, 2017). "At-large Detroit council incumbents face challengers". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  8. ^ Gottlieb, Bryan. "Detroit City Council Elects New President". Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  9. ^ Grullón Paz, Isabella (August 9, 2018). "Rashida Tlaib Won a Primary This Week. She Also Lost a Primary This Week". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  10. ^ Ferretti, Christine & Burke, Melissa Nann (October 29, 2018). "Jones riles Democrats with independent run". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  11. ^ Burke, Melissa Nann (November 13, 2018). "Jones might not take seat in Congress until after Thanksgiving". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  12. ^ Burke, Melissa Nann & Ferretti, Christine (November 7, 2018). "Tlaib urges Jones to say if she'll leave city post for partial term". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  13. ^ Stafford, Kat (August 13, 2018). "Detroit: Brenda Jones can hold John Conyers', council seat". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  14. ^ Melissa Nann Burke (November 29, 2018). "Jones sworn into Congress after deal reached". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  15. ^ "The 5-week congresswoman: Brenda Jones exiting House". Detroit News. Retrieved January 4, 2019.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Conyers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 13th congressional district

2018–2019
Succeeded by
Rashida Tlaib