Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) will leave her post in Congress to work in the U.S. State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, sources tell Capitol Annex.
Jackson Lee was among Clinton’s most prominent African American supporters until the final days of her presidential campaign, in spite of the fact that her Congressional District overwhelmingly supported Barack Oabama. Jackson Lee made no apologies for her support of Clinton, although it could have caused her difficulties in the Democratic Primary next year.
Jackson Lee has held her seat in Congress since winning it in 1994, when she defeated Congressman Craig Washington in the Democratic Primary. A former Houston City Councilmember and municipal judge, Jackson Lee is one of Texas’ most outspoken Congressional leaders on issues of foreign policy, including the genocide in Darfur.
Speculation on who will replace Jackson Lee is already beginning. Leading the pack among likely contenders is State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston). Former Houston City Councilwoman Ada Edwards is also a likely contender for the post. There is some speculation that former Texas House Speaker Pro Tem Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) will seek the seat now that he is essentially exiled within the House Chamber. Turner seeking the seat, however, seems unlikely.
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, 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.
A special election will likely be called for the seat by Texas Governor Rick Perry sometime after Jackson Lee’s resignation is official.