Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee has filed for re-election for Texas U.S. House District 18.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee recently lost the race for Mayor of Houston. She lost by a decisive margin and was unable to generate turnout in the 18th Congressional District that she has represented for many years. Three of the five At-Large Houston City Council seats won by Republicans. A more energetic campaign by Rep. Jackson Lee might have saved some of those seats.
We are told over and over by our political leaders that our vote is our voice. When we peacefully protest we are over-policed. Our Democratic elected officials tell us it is essential we elect them to fight anti-democratic Republicans. Most of our elected Democrats are in safe gerrymandered districts. They don't care about turnout. And they are frequently missing in action when it comes to working to boost overall Democratic turnout.
We need high Democratic turnout in Houston and Harris County in 2024 to hold Harris County, beat authoritarian Ted Cruz and defeat anti-democratic Republicans.
Rep. Jackson Lee's leading primary opponent to retain her Congressional seat is former Houston Councilwoman Amanda Edwards. Ms. Edwards was running for mayor, but got out to make room for the Congresswoman. It seems Ms. Edwards has had enough of that and is staying in the District 18 primary.
Ms. Edwards has campaigned hard so far. She knows she needs every vote. Maybe she can act with the urgency required to address the prospect of a would-be dictator or authoritarian very possibly elected president in less than 11 months. A prospect made all the worse by Ken Paxton as Texas Attorney General and local police unions that appear more than happy to support election-deniers. I believe Ms. Edwards will campaign hard if she wins the primary even though it is a safe district for a Democrat. Her own self-interest to not live in a terrible future might encourage her to work aggressively to boost the full Democratic ticket.
We are less than a year away from the possible loss of our most basic civil liberties. We already have an authoritarian Texas state government that forces women out of state for needed medical care. We must be clear-eyed about the threats ahead. Our candidates and elected officials are here to generate voter turnout and to work to protect us from the political right. If they are doing that then we should support them. If they show that they cannot adequately respond to this authoritarian moment, then they need to move on.
The Houston Democracy Project works daily to inspire, organize and strengthen pro-democracy coalitions in Houston and Harris County. The Project will continue through 2024 at the least.
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I'm Neil Aquino