Jackson Lee Not Leaving Congress to Work at State

Burt Levine | 2/11/2009, 6 p.m.
“I am happily serving in Texas' 18th congressional district,” Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said Monday before flying from Houston to ...

[caption id="attachment_690" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (Photo by Anthony W. Morris)"]

“I am happily serving in Texas' 18th congressional district,” Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said Monday before flying from Houston to Washington but that did not stop reports she was leaving Congress and Houston to work for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her office spent the next days denying rumors she was quitting Congress.

“I have no knowledge of doing anything other than serving and running for re-election in 2010,” said the incumbent 12 year Congresswoman who won nearly 80 percent in the general election last fall and has won totals higher against Republicans most every other year since beating Craig Washington in 1992. She could face Democratopposition this time next year because of her unwavering primary support for Clinton in a district that went voted for Barack Obama.

Jackson Lee Chief of Staff Bronson Woods said Wednesday word she would resign is completely unfounded. He had reporters referred to Press Secretary Elizabeth Lee who said there was no truth to the rumors at all and that she was spending a lot of time trying to find where the rumors were started while the Congresswoman was working to get the stimulus bill passed to bring funds back to Houston that would help schools, roads and bridges and create local jobs.

Jackson Lee ran many times for judge in Harris County before being appointed municipal judge and then winning her seat to the at large Houston City Council. The day of her 1994 swearing in for one more term on city council she filed for Congress against Washington. Jackson Lee is one of Texas’ most outspoken Congressional leaders on issues of foreign policy, including the genocide in Darfur.

If she does or does not quit early speculation on who will replace Jackson Lee already began including interest from those who likely will run against her in the March 2010 Democratic Primary. Leading the pack among contenders is former Texas House Speaker Pro Tem Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) would seek the seat now that he is essentially exiled within the House Chamber. Turner when reached Tuesday said Sheila Jackson Lee is the Congress Member now so there is no seat to discuss but his district in northside Houston is in the 18th.

State Senator Rodney Ellis and former District D Houston City Council Member Ada Edwards are considered likely to run for the seat if it became open.  State Reps. Garnet F. Coleman and Dwayne Bohac are unlikely to seek Jackson Lee’s post, although parts of their districts lie within the boundaries of the Congressional District. Bohac, who as a Republican, would be immediately slaughtered at the ballot box. Coleman, on the other hand, is sorely needed and wields far more power and influence in the Texas House right now.

If Jackson Lee were to resign a special election would be called for the seat by Texas Governor Rick Perry sometime after Jackson Lee’s resignation is official which could be either of two set Uniform Election Dates which would be May 9 or November 3 which is the May Special Election for Houston City Council District H - Adrian Garcia's seat that he vacated to become Sheriff or the November General Election for Mayor, Controller and the city's nine district and five at large city council seats.