Barbara-Rose Collins (born April 13, 1939) is a politician from the U.S.
state of Michigan and the first black woman from Michigan to be elected to Congress.
Collins was born in Detroit, Michigan, graduated from the public schools there and attended Wayne State University as an Anthropology Major.
She was a member of the Detroit Region I public school board, 1971–1973; a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives, from the 21st District, 1975–1981; and a member of the Detroit City Council, 1982–1991.
In 1988, she lost a primary election to the incumbent U.S.
Representative for what was then Michigan's 13th congressional district, George W.
When he retired, she won the seat, taking 34 percent of the vote in a crowded eight-way Democratic primary.
This was tantamount to election in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district.
She won handily in November and was reelected three more times, each time garnering over 80 percent of the vote.
Her district was renumbered as the 15th district after the 1990 census.
Collins was a sponsor of several bills that passed into law, including the Food Dating Bill, the Sex Education Bill, and the Pregnancy Insurance Bill.
She also introduced the Unrenumerated Work Act in 1991, 1993, and 1994.
This bill would have required the Bureau of Labor Statistics to set value on unwaged work such as housework, care work, agricultural work, volunteer work, and work in a family business, and include that value in the Gross National Product of the US.
This measure had been called for in the Forward Looking Strategies resolution passed at the UN 3rd World Conference on Women Nairobi in 1985.
Collins's bill was endorsed by the Congressional Women's Caucus and by 1993 had 90 co-sponsors; however, it failed to pass.
Collins was the subject of a Congressional Ethics Committee inquiry in 1995, under suspicion of 11 instances of misuse of funds.
In 1996, after she lost the Democratic Primary for re-election, the inquiry was dropped.
After five years out of politics, Collins returned to the Detroit City Council for two terms, retiring in 2009.