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  Name:   Sheila Jackson Lee
Month: January/February 2005
Schools: Yale, B.A.
Univ. of Virginia, J.D.
Organization: United States Congress
Title: Congresswoman, 18th Congressional District, Houston, TX

Hailed by EBONY magazine as one of the "100 Most Fascinating Black Women of the Century," and "Congressional Quarterly," as one of the 50 most effective members in Congress. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1994 to represent the 18th Congressional District of Houston, Texas. In her most recent election to the 108th Congress, she captured over 77% of the vote.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee's swearing-in as a Member of the 107th Congress marks her fourth term in the US House of Representatives where she continues to be an active member of Congress, pursuing and successfully achieving a number of legislative objectives. She has distinguished herself as a staunch defender of the Constitution, civil rights and juvenile justice, protection of America's health needs, gun safety and responsibility, economic empowerment for low and middle income America. In addition, the Congresswoman has been out-spoken on human rights issues and has passed legislation that instructs the National Science Foundation to donate surplus computers and scientific equipment to elementary and secondary schools. The Congresswoman also increased funding for the Sims Bayou flood control by $3.5 million which assisted in ending the flooding of residential communities in Harris County, Texas.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee, a veteran of both corporate and private law practice, is a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary where she is a member of the Subcommittee on Crime and was selected as the first African-American woman to serve as the Ranking Democratic on the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. In this leadership role, Congresswoman Jackson Lee has worked to overhaul the Immigration and Naturalization Service to better address the nation's immigration laws. In fact, Congresswoman Jackson Lee recently joined a number of her colleagues in Congress in meeting high tech business executives and touring their facilities. Also, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, Congresswoman Jackson Lee played a pivotal role during the impeachment hearings of President Clinton. Throughout this national crises, the Congresswoman sought to find a resolution that would heal the nation and preserve the Constitution. Consequently, she along with three other Democrats drafted a resolution that would have avoided the necessity of an impeachment vote. Although the resolution was not adopted, her vigor and protection of the Constitution was not diminished. Congresswoman Jackson Lee continued her call for healing and non-partisanship in Congress and throughout the country.

The Congresswoman is also a member of the House Committee on Science, where she sits on the subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. A supporter of NASA and its contribution to American science and medical research Congresswoman Jackson Lee offered an amendment in 1999 to restore funds to NASA during the Appropriations process. In this role, the Congresswoman has been a strong advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities where she has convened a meeting of the presidents of these institutions in Washington, DC and has worked to ensure that part of NASA's funding is used for the recruitment and training of students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to Science, the National Technical Association (NTA) of Scientists and Engineers honored the Congresswoman as one of their 1998 Top Women in the Sciences.

During her tenure in Congress, Congresswoman Jackson Lee has served as Co-Chair of the Congressional Children's Caucus, Co-Chair of the Democratic Caucus's Children's Taskforce, Speaker on the Bi-Partisan Taskforce on Youth Violence; member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, the Congressional Afghanistan Caucus, the Building A Better America Caucus (BABAC), the Qatari-American Economic Strategic Defense, Cultural and Educational Partnership Caucus, the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issue, the Congressional Black Caucus where she has served as the Whip for two terms, the Aeronautics and Space Caucus and the House Democratic Caucus Task Forces on Hunger, Welfare Reform, Economic Renewal, Affirmative Action and Travel and Tourism along with her service in the House Internet Caucus. Congresswoman Jackson Lee was also awarded for her outstanding work on mental health legislation in 1998.

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 also chaired the first Human Relations Committee. Prior to her Council service, she was an Associate Municipal Court Judge for the City of Houston.

While a member of the city council, Congresswoman Jackson Lee was instrumental in the passage of legislation dealing with human rights. She also concentrated on issues such as homelessness, gun safety and responsibility, cable television regulations, and the revision of the Traffic Modification Ordinance. Her Council service also involved major efforts related to aviation, and urban redevelopment and revitalization. Her commitment to community issues and problems caused Congresswoman Jackson Lee to lend her efforts to numerous civic and professional organizations. She was an active member of the State Bar of Texas, and is only one of three African-American women to have served as Director of the State Bar of Texas. From 1987 to 1988, she chaired the Justice Court Subcommittee of the Texas Bar. Congresswoman Jackson Lee is also a former Director of Texas Young Lawyer's Association, and was Chair of its Minority Affairs Committee.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, graduating from the Honors Program in Political Science. She went on to receive her Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee is married to Dr. Elwyn C. Lee, Vice Chancellor of the University of Houston System and Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the University of Houston System. She is the mother of Erica Shelwyn, 24, and Jason Cornelius Bennett Lee, 18.

 

 

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