“I hope I’ve been a humble servant for you for 28 years, many of you in my district,” she said. “Sheila Jackson Lee wants to come home to be your mayor, for the city of Houston.”
Houston, home to over 2 million residents, is the country’s fourth largest city. After nearly three decades representing parts of Houston in Congress, Jackson Lee has amassed wide name recognition in the area. Last week she traveled to Rep. Al Green’s D-Texas district to oppose the Texas Education Agency’s takeover of the Houston Independent School District at a public hearing.
Jackson Lee is jumping into a crowded race. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, who represents a neighboring district, has already endorsed Jackson Lee’s opponent, John Whitmire. Semafor has learned, candidates are already being lobbied to run for other offices. Amanda Edwards, a former at-large city council member, is being encouraged to run for Houston City controller.
Jackson Lee follows other veteran Democratic colleagues in the House who have left to seek higher office or a move into big city government. Former California representative Karen Bass won last year’s Los Angeles mayoral race and Jesús “Chuy” Garcia unsuccessfully ran for Chicago mayor for the second time earlier this year.
“We have to step in the gap, but also be able to use our experiences that we’ve shown over the years of how we can get the job done,” Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who’s running for Senate, told Semafor last week.