Houston's 18th District

They say everything is bigger and better in Texas, and the 18th Congressional District is no exception! Serving much of the central and surrounding area of Houston, Texas, the 18th district is rich in history, culture, and economic development. With a population of approximately 651,619 people, the district is a unique blend of individuals, businesses, as well as cultural and recreational attractions.

The 18th District is home to some of the city’s most historic and important landmarks, including Pennzoil, Heritage Plaza and the Bank of America building, Minute Maid Park (formerly Enron Field) for baseball’s Houston Astros, the Toyota Center for indoor sports, and newly renovated housing in what was once the city’s warehouse district.

In addition to serving as the home to numerous corporations, the 18th District is steeped in culture and diversity. As of January 2007, the district boasts 1,231 arts-related businesses that employ 6,862 people. These non-profit museums, symphonies, theatres, for-profit film, architecture, and advertising companies play an important role in building and sustaining Houston’s economic and cultural vibrancy.

Downtown hosts some of Houston’s most reputable corporate giants, such as CenterPoint Energy, Continental Airlines, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil, Shell Oil and Baker Hughes, whose headquarters are housed in some of the city’s most iconic buildings and skyscrapers.

For people on the go, the 18th District is easy to get around with the innovative METRORail, which serves as a safe and efficient form of transportation. The METRORail is an above ground metro system that travels between Downtown, Midtown, the Museum District, the Texas Medical Center, Reliant Park and the South Fannin Park & Ride lot. With a traveling capacity of up to 400 passengers per trip, the METRORail is a convenient way for travelers to commute to and from Houston’s most congested areas.

The 1960’s brought political and economic diversification to the forefront of Houston development. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act took effect, and Texas was forced to redraw its legislative districts, opening political opportunity to people of color for the first time in the State’s history. In following years, state elected officials became more representative of the people of our great state, and the number of minority voters increased dramatically.

Texas’ 18th Congressional District was created by the 1970 census and established the first minority majority of Texas Congressional District seat. The new seat was filled by former State Senator Barbara Jordan. Jordan retired from politics in 1979 and became a adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She was succeeded by Congressman Mickey Leland, an anti poverty activist whowent on to chair the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1989, Leland and fifteen others were killed in a plane crash during a mission to Ethiopia. Congressman Leland was followed by Craig Washington.

In 1994, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee defeated Washington and has worked hard for the people of the 18th Congressional District of Texas ever since. The Congresswoman currently serves on the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Judiciary and Homeland Security. She chairs the Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection of the Committee on Homeland Security.