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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston received a huge boost to her resume, as the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) gave their official endorsement to encourage President Obama to nominate her as the replacement for the outgoing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, who recently announced she will resign from the department in late August to become the first woman to serve as president of the University of California system.
Jackson Lee, who represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, is known as an influential and forceful voice in Washington and is serving her ninth term (18 years) as a member of the United States House of Representatives.
In a letter dated July 25 to President Barack Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus and CBC Chairman Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat who has led the CBC since January, asked President Obama to nominate Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to the federal appointment, highlighting the key committees she has served on since becoming a member of Congress in 1995.
The letter says that Jackson Lee “would serve as an effective DHS secretary because she understands the importance of increasing border security and maintaining homeland safety.” The letter notes that in her former position as chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection, Jackson Lee advocated for increased airplane cargo inspections and increased railroad safety.
She held posts on Foreign Affairs, Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, where during her service on the Homeland Security committee, she served as the chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection.
Currently, she serves as the ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, where the CBC says in the letter that Jackson Lee stands as a “strong and honest ‘voice of reason.’”
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, was being considered for the Cabinet position by the CBC as well, before he released a statement saying that he was not interested. Instead, he has chosen to endorse and throw his support behind Jackson Lee.
The Department of Homeland Security was created after the September 11terrorist attacks in 2001. The office oversees and coordinates the national strategy to safeguard the country against terrorism and respond to any future attacks.
Dealing with border and cyber security will be extremely important issues that President Obama and the Senate will have to consider when deciding Napolitano’s replacement. Because of the current political climate in Washington, whoever President Obama nominates for the position, will be sure to receive tons of pushback from his Republican opponents.
The CBC recommendation should be taken extremely serious, as the CBC has experienced some recent successes with a few of their recent nominations. After receiving a strongly-worded letter from CBC Chairman Rep. Fudge in March complaining about his second term appointments, President Obama chose two CBC nominees to head up key spots.
President Obama nominated former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as U.S. transportation secretary and U.S. Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency. They both had to face Senate confirmation hearings; Foxx was sworn in as the nation’s 17th Secretary of Transportation on July 2, while Rep. Watt’s nomination to be the next regulator of mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has faced severe Republican opposition.
Senate Republicans have made it extremely difficult for many of President Obama’s nominees to make it out of the Senate, so if he chooses Jackson Lee, there is still a challenge. However, many conservatives are extremely concerned. Conservative bloggers and websites have been all over this news and are taking it very seriously.
The congresswoman has yet to release a statement at the time of this article.