BioCongresswoman 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.