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.