Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18)i
House links: Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18)i
Campaign links: Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18)i
Sheila Jackson Lee Congressional Candidate Texas District 18
Sheila Jackson Lee Biography from House.gov
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is serving her ninth term as a member of the United States House of Representatives. She represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, centered in Houston, which is the energy capital of the world.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee earned a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University with honors, followed by a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School. In the 110th Congress, Congresswoman Jackson Lee was named the new Chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection.
She sits on two Congressional Committees — the House Committees on the Judiciary and Homeland Security. The Congresswoman has authored several immigration bills, such as H.R. 750, the “Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2007″, which sets forth a comprehensive and humane solution to the immigration problem. Rep. Jackson Lee introduced legislation to enhance federal enforcement of hate crimes with H.R. 254, the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention of 2007. Rep. Jackson Lee also played a significant role in the recent renewal and reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Congresswoman Jackson Lee contributed an amendment to the NASA reauthorization bill this year that will ensure equal access for minority and economically disadvantaged students to NASA’s education programs.
In addition, the Congresswoman launched the Dr. Mae C. Jemison Grant Program to work with institutions serving minorities to bring more women of color in the field of space and aeronautics. As Chairwoman of the Transportation Security and Infrastructure Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee, Congresswoman Jackson Lee has supported enhanced technology, better intelligence, increased airplane cargo inspections, increased security for railroads, and implementation of the 9/11 Commission report.
In addition, Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a founder, member, and co-chair of the Congressional Children’s Caucus, the Pakistan Caucus, Afghan Caucus, and newly formed Algerian Caucus. Congresswoman Jackson Lee has been actively engaged in addressing and resolving the genocide in Darfur. Accordingly, she met with Sudanese refugees in Chad, for whom she secured additional funding, and African Union soldiers in Sudan.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee has been hailed by Ebony magazine as one of the “100 Most Fascinating Black Women of the 20th Century.” “Congressional Quarterly” named Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as one of the 50 most effective Members of Congress. “U.S. News and World Report” named her as one of the 10 most influential legislators in the House of Representatives. And the “Houston Chronicle” named Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as one of the most influential and prolific legislators on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Jackson Lee recently received the 2006 Award for Policy at the 16th Annual Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards. In 2005, Congresswoman Jackson Lee was awarded the Drum Major Award for Public Service by the Revelation Urban Development Institute. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to Science, the National Technical Association (NTA) of Scientists and Engineers honored the Congresswoman with its Top Women in the Sciences Award. Congresswoman Jackson Lee was also awarded the “Legislator of the Year” by the National Mental Health Association for her outstanding work on mental health legislation.
Before her election to Congress, Congresswoman Jackson Lee served two terms as one of the first African American women At-Large members of the Houston City Council, where she chaired the first Human Relations Committee, along with the Airport and Cable Committees. Prior to her Council service, she was an Associate Municipal Court Judge for the City of Houston.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee is married to Dr. Elwyn C. Lee, who holds a dual position of Vice Chancellor and Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Houston System and the University of Houston, respectively. They have two children Erica, who is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and Duke University, and Jason, who is a graduate of Harvard University.
Biography of Sheila Jackson Lee from Sheila Jackson Lee for U.S. Congress Campaign Committee
Sheila Jackson Lee grew up in a working-class family in the Queens borough of New York. She stood out among her peers at Jamaica High School and subsequently won a prestigious scholarship, inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to attend New York University (NYU).
After a year at NYU, Jackson Lee was then selected as part of the first class of women to attend Yale University. While an undergraduate, she was heavily involved in the student movement. She graduated from Yale University with Honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. She earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School.
Early in her legal career, she brought her passion for justice and fairness to the legal community in Houston. Jackson Lee worked as a Houston attorney and was chosen to hold a number of prominent positions, such as chairperson of the Black Women Lawyers Association and president of the Houston Lawyers Association. She became active in the legal and civic community also through the American Leadership Forum, Leadership Houston and more.
In 1977 and 1978, Jackson Lee served as staff counsel for the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, which studied Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, among others that occurred in the late 1960s.
In 1983, Jackson Lee chose to pursue elected office to become Harris County Judge. After several close races, she was appointed to the City of Houston Municipal Court to serve as Judge in 1987. Then in 1989, she entered the City of Houston At-Large City Council Race, Position #4. In a close race, she defeated the incumbent to become one of the first African American women to serve in an at-large seat for the city of Houston.
While a councilmember, she chaired the first Human Relations Committee, along with the Airport and Cable Committees. She served as Councilmember with distinction for two terms until 1994, when she entered the primary for the 18th Congressional District in Houston and won.
In 1994, Congresswoman Jackson Lee was chosen as president of the freshmen class of Democrats. In 1997, she was named whip of the Congressional Black Caucus. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which advances thought on critical issues of public policy and supports leadership development and scholarships for minority youth.
Since entering the House, Jackson Lee has been a vigorous supporter of civil and human rights. She has authored several immigration bills, such as H.R. 750, the Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2007, which set forth a humane and compassionate solution to the immigration dilemma. That same year, Jackson Lee worked tirelessly to prevent the expiration key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to ensure that this fundamental right was protected for all Americans. In H.R. 254, the David Ray Hate Crime Prevention of 2007, she introduced legislation to enhance federal enforcement of hate crimes. She stood strong against the Defense of Marriage Act, an act that restricts state recognition of homosexual marriages.
Her commitment to children’s issues has also been unwavering. She is a member and co-chair of the Congressional Children’s Caucus. In Houston, she has secured federal resources in support of the Children’s Healthcare Program (CHIP) and public school funding. In addition, the Congresswoman annually hosts a holiday party featuring live entertainment, toys, food and giveaways for over 3,000 children and their families from the 18th Congressional District.
Jackson Lee has also worked tirelessly to improving the lot and addressing the concerns of woman and minorities. She launched the Dr. Mae C. Jemison Grant Program, which works with institutions serving minorities to bring more women into the field of space aeronautics. She has stood tall for women’s healthcare issues and the protection of women under Title XI, as well as equal pay for equal work legislation.
As a global citizen, she strongly supports the Mickey Leland Kibbutz program which gives high school students from the 18th Congressional district the opportunity to spend 6 weeks in Israel to learn about peace and culture in that region. She is founder of Congress’ Pakistan Caucus, Afghan Caucus and Algerian Caucus.
A matter of great importance to Jackson Lee is addressing and resolving the genocide in Darfur. She has met with Sudanese refugees in Chad, for whom she secured funding, as well as African Union soldiers in Sudan.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee is married to Dr. Elwyn C. Lee, who holds a dual position of Vice Chancellor and Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Houston System and the University of Houston, respectively. They have two children: Erica, who is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and Duke University, and Jason, a graduate of Harvard University.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, spending time with her family and cheering for the Houston Texans. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee can often be found throughout her district on weekends.