Sheila Jackson Lee (born January 12, 1950) is the U.S. Representative for Texas's 18th congressional district, serving since 1995. The district includes most of inner-city Houston. She is a member of the Democratic Party.
Early life and education
Jackson Lee graduated from Jamaica High School in Queens. She earned a B.A. in political science from Yale University in 1972, followed by a J.D.
from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1975. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Early political career
Jackson Lee made three unsuccessful attempts at local judgeships before becoming a municipal judge from 1987 to 1990. Jackson Lee, along with Sylvia Garcia, were appointed by then Mayor of Houston Kathy Whitmire. In 1989 she won the at-large position for a seat on the Houston City Council, serving until 1994. While on the city council, Jackson Lee helped pass a safety ordinance that required parents to keep their guns away from children.
She also worked for expanded summer hours at city parks and recreation centers as a way to combat gang violence.
U.S. House of Representatives
Prior to the 110th Congress, Jackson Lee served on the House Science Committee and on the Subcommittee that oversees space policy and NASA. She is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and a CBC whip.
In 2000, she favored permanently normalizing trade status for China, arguing that it would aid both human rights and Houston's economy.
Jackson Lee traveled to the 2001 World Conference against Racism in South Africa, and has backed sanctions against Sudan. On April 28, 2006, Jackson Lee, along with four other members of Congress and six other activists, was arrested for disorderly conduct in front of Sudan's embassy in Washington. They were protesting the role of Sudan's government in ethnic cleansing in Darfur.
- Committee on Homeland Security
- Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence
- Subcommittee on Transportation Security (Ranking Member)
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
- Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement
Lee is or has been a member of a number of caucuses, including: the 9-11 Commission Caucus, the Building a Better America Caucus (BABAC), the Congressional Caucus on Global Road Safety, and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.
Task forces in which she has participated include Children and Families, Homeland Security, Immigration, and Katrina. She has been the co-chair of the Congressional Algeria Caucus, the Congressional Pakistan Caucus, the Democratic Outreach Task Force, and the US-Afghan Caucus. Lee has also been a member of the House Democratic Steering Committee.
Jackson Lee has urged better relations between the U.S. and Venezuela, which she describes as a friendly nation. She said the U.S.
should reconsider its ban on selling F-16 fighter jets and spare parts to that country. The U.S. State Department bans such sales due to "lack of support" for counter-terrorist operations and Venezuela's relations with Iran and Cuba.
In 1994, Jackson Lee, then serving her third term as a member of the Houston City Council, challenged four-term incumbent Congressman Craig Washington in the Democratic primary for the 18th District. Washington had come under fire for opposing several projects that would have benefited the Houston area. Jackson Lee routed Washington in the primary, winning 63 percent of the vote.
The victory was tantamount to election in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district (it has since been reconfigured to be plurality-black). She was elected in November and has been reelected seven times with no substantive opposition, usually winning over 70 percent of the vote. The Republicans did not run a candidate against her in 1998 or 2004.
In 2008, she endorsed Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.
Jackson Lee moved to Houston after her husband, Dr. Elwyn C. Lee, took a job at the University of Houston. Her husband now holds a dual position of Vice Chancellor and Vice President for Student Affairs of the University of Houston System ("UHS") and the University of Houston ("UH"), respectively.
February 15th, 2012