She was in Ebony magazine’s one of the hundred most influential woman in the twentieth century and is now one of the most active and influential in Congress. She has had an interest in minority issues in Sudan in particular. She was one of those who called for the imposition of the maximum sanctions on Khartoum over Darfur and has been arrested with other members of Congress in front of the Sudanese embassy in Washington in April 28, 2006 when they were demonstrating against what they called ethnic cleansing in Darfur. She visited Chad to get acquainted with the situation of Sudanese refugees there and is now to visit Sudan to stand on the real situation on the ground. U.S. Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus in Congress.
It has been announced on the local Sudanese media of her upcoming visit to Sudan which is effective in the development of Sudanese-American relations, this will be one of the results of the talks between Khartoum and Washington in relation to recent visit of a delegation led by the Sudan President’s advisor, Dr. Ghazi Salah al-Din to Washington. Mr. Al-Khatib, a member of the delegation, held two important meetings with Rep. Sheila Jackson, which focused on the conduct and progress of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the humanitarian situation in Sudan particularly in Darfur, Al-Khatib has expressed his approval of the request by Jackson to visit Sudan to see the situation closely.
Sheila Jackson Lee, born in January 12, 1950, is a U.S. member of Congress from the Democratic Party and has represented the Eighteenth Congressional District of Texas since 1995. Sheila studied at Jamaica High School and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University in 1972 and another from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1975, and then moved to Houston after her husband, Dr. Elwyn C. Lee, was given a dual position of Vice Chancellor and Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Houston System and the University of Houston, respectively.
Sheila failed three times in a row to take the post of a local Houston judge before achieving it to become a Municipal Judge during the period from 1987 until 1990. In 1989, she was elected to take a seat in the Houston City Council until 1994, and through her presence in the local municipal council , she sought the a gun safety ordinance, which included the punishment of parents who do not put weapons beyond the reach of children.
In 1994, Jackson-Lee, then serving her third term as a member of the Houston City Council, defeated incumbent Congressman Craig Washington in the Democratic primary for the 18th Congressional District of Texas. The victory assured her the seat itself, as the district is overwhelmingly Democratic.
As a federal legislator, Jackson-Lee is an outspoken advocate for her liberal views, which range from supporting affirmative action to immigrant and women’s rights.
Jackson-Lee’s role model is the black legislator Barbara Jordan, who represented the same congressional district from 1973 to 1979. Like Jordan before her, Jackson-Lee uses her seat on the Judiciary Committee to focus attention on civil rights, abortion rights and other liberal causes.
Minority issues are at the forefront of Jackson-Lee’s political concerns. Within the past few years she has traveled to South Africa to decry racism and has backed sanctions against Sudan. She is the first vice-chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Jackson-Lee on occasion has partnered with Republicans in Congress, for instance backing President George W. Bush’s energy plan, which was strongly criticized by environmentalists. In 2000 she favored permanently normalizing trade status for China, arguing that it would aid both human rights and Houston’s economy.
On the external level, she calls for better relations between the United States and Venezuela, describing Venezuela as a friendly nation contrary to what former President George Bush saw. Could it be that Sudan will be considered further after her expected visit to Khartoum?.