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District 18 may pay price for Lee's pace (Sheila Jackson Lee throws cell phone at staffer & more)
Houston Chronicle ^ | 8/31/02 | KAREN MASTERSON

Posted on 08/31/2002 9:31:56 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is a house afire.

She speaks up at news conferences and on the House floor, with a knack for showing up in front of the news cameras and C-SPAN.

Back in her Houston district, she jumps from funerals to birthday parties to school board meetings to job fairs, booked from early morning until late at night.

Even her critics concede that she lives for her constituents in the 18th U.S. Congressional District, despite her New York roots and Yale education.

But Jackson Lee's strengths also are her weaknesses.

Some staffers and critics say her pace and management style cause staff turnover and prevent her from running an efficient office.

And federal data suggest her constituents pay a price.

Records acquired under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that Jackson Lee has done a fraction of the casework -- inquiries or intercessions with the federal government on behalf of residents -- done by other Houston-area lawmakers.

For example, Jackson Lee, who has been critical of the Social Security Administration for mishandling the appeals of Texans who have been denied disability insurance, wrote the agency on behalf of 79 constituents since taking office in 1995.

By comparison, Rep. Nick Lampson's office intervened on behalf of 539 people in his district since he took office in 1997.

The Beaumont Democrat, like Jackson Lee, represents communities where many residents rely on disability and supplemental Social Security coverage.

Democratic Rep. Gene Green, who has written the agency on behalf of 538 constituents since 1995, also represents many poor Houstonians, some in neighborhoods adjacent to Jackson Lee's district.

High staff turnover

Jackson Lee declined numerous requests to be interviewed, or to answer questions regarding her constituent services, although she issued a statement that said: "I look forward to the Houston Chronicle allowing me to present the full and complete story of the record of service of my staff and myself to the 18th Congressional District in a fair and equitable manner as soon as possible."

Her defenders say the problem is with her employees, not the congresswoman.

"People who came to work for her thought this was a fancy job," said Gerald Womack, a former district manager for Jackson Lee with close personal and political ties to her. "And when it got down to doing the (case)work, they were not ready for it."

But other employees who have worked for Jackson Lee said she works her people unreasonable hours and can be abrasive, leading staffers to quit at a brisk pace. With high turnover, work goes unfinished, they said.

"There'd be casework stacked to the ceiling," said one of Jackson Lee's former district directors, who asked not to be named.

Nathan Williams, who went to work for Jackson Lee in 1998 after graduating from Princeton University, said he quit in 2001 after she threw a cell phone at him.

"I don't think I ever got home before 11 o'clock at night," he said of his years with the congresswoman. "And the latest I was in the office was at 8:30 in the morning -- at the latest.

"I'm not mad about it, because I chose to do it," he said. "I loved the work, I truly did. Even now I miss it. But doing that seven days a week, I couldn't take it anymore."

Gladys Quinto, an attorney who quit Jackson Lee's office in April after six months as legislative counsel, said the congresswoman threatened to fire her twice in her first week there. "She also asked me to write a memo telling her why I'm incompetent."

Lillian German, Jackson Lee's chief of staff at the time, said Quinto was among her most competent employees.

Former district director Larry Green said the congresswoman's constituents have more problems than those of other lawmakers, which spreads her staff thin.

He said a backlog developed in 2001, the year before his employment, because Jackson Lee had no district director. "When you don't have a district director monitoring the activities, a lot of times things are not done or resolved."

He defended Jackson Lee's record and commitment to her constituents, but added: "Of course, turnover is a problem."

Green left in the spring, after six months. He has not been replaced.

Goes with the office

Since taking office in 1995, Jackson Lee has had about 125 employees, not including temporary staffers and part-timers. In her first year, she lost 14 people, making turnover in her office the highest among freshman lawmakers.

First-year House members lost an average of 3.4 workers that year.

Rep. Ken Bentsen, D-Houston, who was elected the same year as Jackson Lee, has had a total of 38 employees -- including seven who have been with him since he took office.

Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, who took office in 1993, has had a total of 45 employees.

On average, congressional staff members remain in the same House office for 3.7 years, according to the Congressional Management Fund. Jackson Lee's staff average is less than a year.

This year, by June 30, at least seven people had left Jackson Lee's Washington office, according to congressional records. At any one time, she has five to seven staffers employed in her Capitol Hill office and others employed back in her district.

In Washington, some former staffers have formed a "Sheila Club." They meet for drinks and meals, and to trade gossip.

Leon Buck, who had been Jackson Lee's only long-term Washington employee before leaving recently to become a lobbyist, said the congresswoman sees turnover as something that goes along with her office.

He said she doesn't worry about it, and she doesn't intend to change.

House members run relatively small operations, employing roughly 15 people at a time, usually with half in Washington to work on legislation, the other half in their districts to help constituents with government-related problems.

They initiate formal written congressional inquiries, and federal agencies must follow through.

That gives congressional offices unique power to demand answers for residents on Social Security coverage, low-income housing loans, high school students' applications to military academies or problems with the Internal Revenue Service.

"Once you're struggling with the federal government, you're at your wits' end," said Pat Strong, Bentsen's chief of staff and district director. "So you need an advocate, someone who can help cut through the red tape."

The work also is considered invaluable to getting lawmakers re-elected, although Jackson Lee has had no trouble keeping the votes of her constituents.

"The bottom line is, the woman is a hard worker," said Womack, her former district manager. "She's been a very strong force for this district."

Among the Houston area's seven congressional districts, Jackson Lee's stands out for its high concentration of black and Hispanic voters and its poverty and unemployment rates.

Her staffers say those constituents need more help than those in other districts.

But former staffers said the congresswoman would place unrelated demands on their time, such as driving her to events and organizing news conferences.

Former caseworkers said Jackson Lee's large immigrant community needed a lot of help dealing with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. But data show relatively few inquiries were made from her office.

In the eight-month period between Oct. 1, 2001, and June 1, Jackson Lee's office wrote to the INS on behalf of 31 constituents.

In the same period, Bentsen's office wrote on behalf of 101 residents. The other Houston-area lawmakers each wrote letters to assist between 61 and 84 constituents.

See link for rest of article.


TOPICS: Breaking News; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: cynthiamckinney; sheilajacksonlee
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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With Cynthia McKinney on the way out, Queen Sheila's now officially the most obnoxious left wing camera hog in Congress. Any ideas on how to cause a repeat of Georgia CD 4 in Texas CD 18?
1 posted on 08/31/2002 9:31:56 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Records acquired under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that Jackson Lee has done a fraction of the casework -- inquiries or intercessions with the federal government on behalf of residents -- done by other Houston-area lawmakers.

Wait a minute. This may not be such a bad thing.

2 posted on 08/31/2002 9:34:43 PM PDT by Texas Eagle
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To: GOPcapitalist
No way it's going to happen unless you change the racial structure of her district.
3 posted on 08/31/2002 9:35:20 PM PDT by Aggie Mama
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To: GOPcapitalist
Yale education.

Huh? "Yale Education"? Hmmm,doesn't "the smartest woman in the world" have a "Yale Education",too?

4 posted on 08/31/2002 9:39:36 PM PDT by sneakypete
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To: Texas Eagle
Wait a minute. This may not be such a bad thing.

LOL! Of course. Sloth on the part of marxists is a good thing.

5 posted on 08/31/2002 9:40:26 PM PDT by LibKill
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To: GOPcapitalist
And ya get in your car,
And ya drive real far,
And ya drive all night,
And then ya see a light,
And it comes right down
And lands on the ground,
And out comes a man from Mars.
And ya try to run,
But he's got a gun,
And he shoots ya dead,
And he eats your head,
And then you're in the man from Mars.
You go out at night, eatin' cars,
You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too,
Mercurys and Subarus,
And ya don't stop,
You keep on eatin' cars.
Then, when there's no more cars,
You go out at night and eat up bars,
Where the people meet,
Face to face,
Dance cheek to cheek,
One to one,
Man to man.
Dance toe to toe,
Don't move to slow,
Cause the man from Mars,
Is through with cars,
He's eatin' bars.
Yeah, wall to wall,
Door to door,
Hall to hall,
He's gonna eat 'em all,
Rapture.
6 posted on 08/31/2002 9:42:23 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Texas Eagle
Actually, this is a bad thing.
Congressional Reps should spend about half their time helping constituents who have trouble when trying to do "business" with the Federal government. The other half of the time they should be engaged in their function of government oversight (doing things like making sure the alphabet agencies are doing their jobs and keeping America safe from terrorist attacks). Only a small part of their job should be dedicated to new legislation. Some 86,000 new laws are place on the books every year in this country (obviously, not all from Congress), which indicates that representatives across the board (state and Federal) have their priorities mixed up. They spend way too much time on new legislation instead of representing their constituents with matters before the government bureaucracies.
7 posted on 08/31/2002 9:46:40 PM PDT by citizenK
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To: GOPcapitalist
Hope eligible Texans vote her socialist racist seditious butt back onto the streets ...........

Stay Safe !

8 posted on 08/31/2002 9:51:07 PM PDT by Squantos
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To: citizenK
Uhhhhh, do you realize who Jackson-Lee's constituents are?

They're a bunch of lazy slobs who spend their whole lives sucking at the teat of government. And what comes out of those teats is the taxes you and I pay.

9 posted on 08/31/2002 9:51:15 PM PDT by Texas Eagle
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To: GOPcapitalist
Interesting. We have 435 "Godfathers" running around, with all their "Capos" and Lieutenants and "soldiers" doing the dirty work, etc.

No wonder even a well-meaning and seemingly perfect "conservative" GOPer can come off sounding every bit the RINO in election ads.

Case in point: The ad running here in Houston for Tom DeLay, arch-conservative, boasting about how much, how quickly and how desperately he wants to use OUR money to pay for prescription drugs for seniors.

NOTE: this isn't a personal dig at DeLay; he's simply one of the Godfathers. But the system corrupts even someone of his caliber.

TERM LIMITS NOW!!!!!!!

10 posted on 08/31/2002 9:53:50 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: Diddle E. Squat
They Might Be Giants?
11 posted on 08/31/2002 9:54:55 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: Texas Eagle
They're a bunch of lazy slobs who spend their whole lives sucking at the teat of government. And what comes out of those teats is the taxes you and I pay.

As a resident I probably should object to a comment like that. But then I stop and think about it as I am not really Sheila's constituent. For a conservative in her district it's almost like having no representative in Congress. And yes, the people who vote for her highness include more than their fair share of welfare slobs.

12 posted on 08/31/2002 9:59:21 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Perhaps I used a broad brush. I'm glad you weren't in the path. Maybe I should've limited my diatribe to the constituents who seek her magical powers to solve their life's problems. Most of which I am sure they are 100% responsible for.
13 posted on 08/31/2002 10:02:38 PM PDT by Texas Eagle
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To: Squantos
Hope eligible Texans vote her socialist racist seditious butt back onto the streets ...........

It'd definately be nice. The GOP opponent is a man named Philip Abbott. I plan on voting for him and doing what I can to help, even though it's uphill.

Philip Abbott for Congress (Sheila's opponent this November)

14 posted on 08/31/2002 10:02:55 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Leon Buck, who had been Jackson Lee's only long-term Washington employee before leaving recently to become a lobbyist, said the congresswoman sees turnover as something that goes along with her office.

He said she doesn't worry about it, and she doesn't intend to change.

That can be loosely translated to mean "Hell I can replace these no nothing drones faster than they can print up their resumes. Who cares about them, they need this job more than I need them."

15 posted on 08/31/2002 10:05:45 PM PDT by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig
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To: GOPcapitalist
Would love to help but too far away up here in the Panhandle.......Good Luck ! and let me know what I can do from here .

Stay Safe !

16 posted on 08/31/2002 10:06:16 PM PDT by Squantos
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To: Illbay
I heard that ad too...sickening. The only one I know of who doesn't get into that garbage is Ron Paul. Though the Dems are definately more involved in it that we are...
17 posted on 08/31/2002 10:08:07 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: Squantos
Pass his name on to any friends in the 18th district. BTW, are you in Combest or Stenholm's district? The latter's another Dem that needs to go.
18 posted on 08/31/2002 10:14:50 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Is she the won that thought we landed on mars? rush plaed the tape of her saying that. I think it was her.
19 posted on 08/31/2002 10:18:01 PM PDT by Brimack34
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To: Illbay
TERM LIMITS NOW!!!!!!!

What are you, some kind of anti-government anarchist whacko?

20 posted on 08/31/2002 10:24:38 PM PDT by Jolly Rodgers
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To: Illbay
Blondie!
21 posted on 08/31/2002 10:24:43 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Brimack34
Yes. That was the one and only Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Mars)
22 posted on 08/31/2002 10:26:59 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Her quote? "The buck stops with them!"
IMO Just another pol ALWAYS RUNNING for RE-ELECTION.
23 posted on 08/31/2002 10:29:11 PM PDT by Libertina
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To: GOPcapitalist
Gladys Quinto, an attorney who quit Jackson Lee's office in April after six months as legislative counsel, said the congresswoman threatened to fire her twice in her first week there. "She also asked me to write a memo telling her why I'm incompetent."

I bet Quinto wishes she had written a memo telling Jackson-Lee why she was incompetent.

24 posted on 08/31/2002 10:45:53 PM PDT by L.N. Smithee
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To: GOPcapitalist
http://video.tvworldwide.com/ramgen/able/democratic_convention/day4/clip209_sheilajacksonlee.rm
25 posted on 08/31/2002 10:45:58 PM PDT by byteback
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To: Texas Eagle
I am sure her constituents are of dubious quality, they voted for her afterall.

It is better to have the Reps. helping constituents figure out the boondoggle of existing legislation than it is having them create more legislation to further complicate our lives.

26 posted on 08/31/2002 10:51:20 PM PDT by citizenK
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To: GOPcapitalist
"Even her critics concede that she lives for her constituents in the 18th U.S. Congressional District, despite her New York roots and Yale education. "

Well I don't buy it. She lives to scam her constituents into thinking she cares for them....just like Hitlery.

27 posted on 08/31/2002 10:51:22 PM PDT by brat
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To: Diddle E. Squat
Blondie!

Why?

28 posted on 08/31/2002 10:51:48 PM PDT by L.N. Smithee
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To: GOPcapitalist
"The bottom line is, the woman is a hard worker," said Womack, her former district manager. "She's been a very strong force for this district."

She may be a hard worker. But clearly she has no clue about either effective leadership or management. She's getting way less done despite working her staff harder and she's too dense to catch on.

29 posted on 08/31/2002 10:52:26 PM PDT by LenS
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To: citizenK
"It is better to have the Reps. helping constituents figure out the boondoggle of existing legislation than it is having them create more legislation to further complicate our lives.

Amen.

30 posted on 08/31/2002 10:54:10 PM PDT by Texas Eagle
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To: Diddle E. Squat
Blondie!
31 posted on 08/31/2002 10:55:31 PM PDT by capitan_refugio
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To: brat
Well I don't buy it.

I agree. If she cared about her constituents, she would really make the effort to make sure the inquiries and intercessions with the Federal government are adjudicated in a timely manner.

32 posted on 08/31/2002 10:57:38 PM PDT by citizenK
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To: Illbay
Believe it or not, each House of Congress is guarenteed under the Constitution to set their own rules. Each House could enacted their own term limits and refuse to seat elected representatives! However, the last time that was done, the year started with "17".

There is a great book on term limits written by George Will.
33 posted on 08/31/2002 10:58:47 PM PDT by capitan_refugio
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To: Illbay
Believe it or not, each House of Congress is guarenteed under the Constitution to set their own rules. Each House could enact their own term limits and refuse to seat elected representatives! However, the last time that was done, the year started with "17".

There is a great book on term limits written by George Will. "Restoration: Congress, Term Limits, and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy" (1993)

34 posted on 08/31/2002 11:04:05 PM PDT by capitan_refugio
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To: GOPcapitalist
"...despite her New York roots and Yale education."

Waitaminute... "Yale education"?
Isn't Sheila Jackson Lee the one who wondered if our Mars lander would be able to see the American flag that the astronauts left there? Or am I thinking of somebody else?
"Yale education".... Naw, can't be.....

35 posted on 08/31/2002 11:39:46 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: GOPcapitalist
"People who came to work for her thought this was a fancy job," said Gerald Womack, a former district manager for Jackson Lee with close personal and political ties to her. "And when it got down to doing the (case)work, they were not ready for it."

Translation: These were people who came in from other government jobs where all they had to do was sit around and slop down plates of spaghetti, and pick up their paychecks on Friday.

36 posted on 08/31/2002 11:44:23 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: citizenK
She always acts like she is the smartest person in the room, but when questioned, she is lost.
37 posted on 09/01/2002 12:44:34 AM PDT by bybybill
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To: GOPcapitalist
[Full Text] WASHINGTON -- Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is a house afire.

She speaks up at news conferences and on the House floor, with a knack for showing up in front of the news cameras and C-SPAN.

Back in her Houston district, she jumps from funerals to birthday parties to school board meetings to job fairs, booked from early morning until late at night.

Even her critics concede that she lives for her constituents in the 18th U.S. Congressional District, despite her New York roots and Yale education.

But Jackson Lee's strengths also are her weaknesses.

Some staffers and critics say her pace and management style cause staff turnover and prevent her from running an efficient office.

And federal data suggest her constituents pay a price.

Records acquired under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that Jackson Lee has done a fraction of the casework -- inquiries or intercessions with the federal government on behalf of residents -- done by other Houston-area lawmakers.

For example, Jackson Lee, who has been critical of the Social Security Administration for mishandling the appeals of Texans who have been denied disability insurance, wrote the agency on behalf of 79 constituents since taking office in 1995.

By comparison, Rep. Nick Lampson's office intervened on behalf of 539 people in his district since he took office in 1997.

The Beaumont Democrat, like Jackson Lee, represents communities where many residents rely on disability and supplemental Social Security coverage.

Democratic Rep. Gene Green, who has written the agency on behalf of 538 constituents since 1995, also represents many poor Houstonians, some in neighborhoods adjacent to Jackson Lee's district.

High staff turnover

Jackson Lee declined numerous requests to be interviewed, or to answer questions regarding her constituent services, although she issued a statement that said: "I look forward to the Houston Chronicle allowing me to present the full and complete story of the record of service of my staff and myself to the 18th Congressional District in a fair and equitable manner as soon as possible."

Her defenders say the problem is with her employees, not the congresswoman.

"People who came to work for her thought this was a fancy job," said Gerald Womack, a former district manager for Jackson Lee with close personal and political ties to her. "And when it got down to doing the (case)work, they were not ready for it."

But other employees who have worked for Jackson Lee said she works her people unreasonable hours and can be abrasive, leading staffers to quit at a brisk pace. With high turnover, work goes unfinished, they said.

"There'd be casework stacked to the ceiling," said one of Jackson Lee's former district directors, who asked not to be named.

Nathan Williams, who went to work for Jackson Lee in 1998 after graduating from Princeton University, said he quit in 2001 after she threw a cell phone at him.

"I don't think I ever got home before 11 o'clock at night," he said of his years with the congresswoman. "And the latest I was in the office was at 8:30 in the morning -- at the latest.

"I'm not mad about it, because I chose to do it," he said. "I loved the work, I truly did. Even now I miss it. But doing that seven days a week, I couldn't take it anymore."

Gladys Quinto, an attorney who quit Jackson Lee's office in April after six months as legislative counsel, said the congresswoman threatened to fire her twice in her first week there. "She also asked me to write a memo telling her why I'm incompetent."

Lillian German, Jackson Lee's chief of staff at the time, said Quinto was among her most competent employees.

Former district director Larry Green said the congresswoman's constituents have more problems than those of other lawmakers, which spreads her staff thin.

He said a backlog developed in 2001, the year before his employment, because Jackson Lee had no district director. "When you don't have a district director monitoring the activities, a lot of times things are not done or resolved."

He defended Jackson Lee's record and commitment to her constituents, but added: "Of course, turnover is a problem."

Green left in the spring, after six months. He has not been replaced.

Goes with the office

Since taking office in 1995, Jackson Lee has had about 125 employees, not including temporary staffers and part-timers. In her first year, she lost 14 people, making turnover in her office the highest among freshman lawmakers.

First-year House members lost an average of 3.4 workers that year.

Rep. Ken Bentsen, D-Houston, who was elected the same year as Jackson Lee, has had a total of 38 employees -- including seven who have been with him since he took office.

Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, who took office in 1993, has had a total of 45 employees.

On average, congressional staff members remain in the same House office for 3.7 years, according to the Congressional Management Fund. Jackson Lee's staff average is less than a year.

This year, by June 30, at least seven people had left Jackson Lee's Washington office, according to congressional records. At any one time, she has five to seven staffers employed in her Capitol Hill office and others employed back in her district.

In Washington, some former staffers have formed a "Sheila Club." They meet for drinks and meals, and to trade gossip.

Leon Buck, who had been Jackson Lee's only long-term Washington employee before leaving recently to become a lobbyist, said the congresswoman sees turnover as something that goes along with her office.

He said she doesn't worry about it, and she doesn't intend to change.

House members run relatively small operations, employing roughly 15 people at a time, usually with half in Washington to work on legislation, the other half in their districts to help constituents with government-related problems.

They initiate formal written congressional inquiries, and federal agencies must follow through.

That gives congressional offices unique power to demand answers for residents on Social Security coverage, low-income housing loans, high school students' applications to military academies or problems with the Internal Revenue Service.

"Once you're struggling with the federal government, you're at your wits' end," said Pat Strong, Bentsen's chief of staff and district director. "So you need an advocate, someone who can help cut through the red tape."

The work also is considered invaluable to getting lawmakers re-elected, although Jackson Lee has had no trouble keeping the votes of her constituents.

"The bottom line is, the woman is a hard worker," said Womack, her former district manager. "She's been a very strong force for this district."

Among the Houston area's seven congressional districts, Jackson Lee's stands out for its high concentration of black and Hispanic voters and its poverty and unemployment rates.

Her staffers say those constituents need more help than those in other districts.

But former staffers said the congresswoman would place unrelated demands on their time, such as driving her to events and organizing news conferences.

Former caseworkers said Jackson Lee's large immigrant community needed a lot of help dealing with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. But data show relatively few inquiries were made from her office.

In the eight-month period between Oct. 1, 2001, and June 1, Jackson Lee's office wrote to the INS on behalf of 31 constituents.

In the same period, Bentsen's office wrote on behalf of 101 residents. The other Houston-area lawmakers each wrote letters to assist between 61 and 84 constituents.

Working the phones

Womack said Jackson Lee's office used another method.

"A lot of times, we were so bogged down with work, we didn't have time to write to those agencies, so we worked the phones."

Federal agencies do not record telephone calls because they are informal. A formal inquiry requires a disclosure statement signed by the constituent seeking help and a letter from the lawmaker.

Green's district director, Rhonda Jackson, said the congressman requires his caseworkers to write follow-up letters. "That creates a paper trail," she said. "If you make a call, and you don't have a good resolution, it's almost as if you didn't do anything."

Green said a high priority on casework makes "great politics" because it encourages people to vote for him. "But it's also good government."

He said he's lucky to have had low turnover among his district staff. Two people have left in the past four years. "Social Security disability cases can take over three years to resolve. If you have somebody leave, that's a big problem."

Congressional celebrity

Elected to Congress in the 1994 general election, Jackson Lee is among the most visible lawmakers on Capitol Hill. And her celebrity has inspired mixed feelings.

A survey of top Capitol Hill staffers conducted by Washingtonian magazine and published in the September 2002 edition named Jackson Lee the House's No. 1 "showhorse."

Former employees said working for Jackson Lee was the best job they ever hated.

She has a strong voice amid an increasingly influential group of black lawmakers in Washington. She also hires well-educated and ethnically diverse employees. And she's driven.

Jackson Lee, 52, who graduated from Yale and received a law degree from the University of Virginia, speaks eloquently against social injustices.

She routinely seeks to change bills debated on the Republican-controlled House floor by offering amendments, most of which fail.

She is vocal at congressional hearings, barraging Bush administration officials with questions -- sometimes using all her time without letting the witnesses respond.

The congresswoman also compiled the most liberal voting record in the Texas delegation last year, according to Americans for Democratic Action, making her office an appealing place for progressive professionals.

Wendy Brafman, an attorney who worked for Jackson Lee for six months last year, said her experience helped her grow personally and professionally.

"I wouldn't repeat it, but I learned some skills there that have served me well, like how to be more resourceful, how to think on my feet better and just how to be a tougher person."

But she said, "her legislative style is a disservice to her constituents.

"She would draft so many amendments, often they were not well-considered, done hastily and without proper consultation with outside agencies and colleagues."

Ambitious agenda

Jackson Lee's ambitious agenda has caused problems with career legislative staff and her own party.

A nonpartisan office that rewrites legislative proposals into legal code, a process that must take place before a bill or amendment can be introduced, asked the congresswoman to refrain from drafting unnecessary measures.

She also was asked to stop making so many demands that require immediate attention, given that the legislative counsel office works for 435 members of Congress.

And Democratic leaders have asked her to slow down, focus and work more within the party structure.

"It's one thing for your colleagues to tell you to slow down. It's another to be amongst your constituents who are telling you thank you for the work that you do. They're not telling her to slow down," said Sophia King, who started work for Jackson Lee in late May.

"The congresswoman is an extremely passionate person. You can't come to her office without a high level of intensity yourself and a passion for the work."

Jackson Lee is not the only lawmaker hard on employees, nor does she violate any law by asking staff to work long hours and weekends.

Lawmakers run their own fiefdoms, and many have earned tough reputations with their staffs, including Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who came in first and second, respectively, in Washingtonian magazine's "meanest" senator category, according to a survey of Hill staffers.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, also has received bad press for her treatment of employees.

Roy Malonson, publisher and editor of the African-American, a Texas newspaper published in her district, says Jackson Lee may be so driven because she has a lot to live up to.

Her district has elected distinguished lawmakers, such as Democrats Barbara Jordan, a civil rights hero, and Mickey Leland, an internationally celebrated anti-hunger activist who died in a plane crash while visiting famine-stricken Ethiopia.

"Sheila wants to make sure her name is etched in stone, that her legacy tops Barbara Jordan's," Malonson said. "She's obsessed with being the best congresswoman. She tries to be everything to everybody."

Malonson defended Jackson Lee's demands on her staff. "Is it right to have super-high expectations? I guess that would be the right question. She can only be as good as her staff. And her 24-hour-a-day style is hard to hang with."

Jackson Lee has never faced a credible political challenger in her district. And she has won over critics by her hard work on larger issues.

For example, she persuaded the Transportation Security Administration, which must hire 1,200 federal airport security personnel for Houston's two major airports, to hold a job fair in her district. Jackson Lee promoted the August event, and her staff said they helped 200 Houstonians take the first step toward getting jobs as airport screeners.

Ed Gonzales, head of the Neartown Civic Association in her district and member of a Houstonwide real estate agent political action committee, said Jackson Lee gets an A+ on affordable housing for helping low-income people understand mortgages and getting lenders to reach out to Houston's minority communities.

And Beulah Shephard, a political matriarch of sorts who has helped black officials in Houston get elected since the 1940s, said she initially resented Jackson Lee for her New York roots and her rise to Congress with support from Houston's downtown establishment. "But I think she does as well as (Mayor) Lee Brown," Shephard said. "She's done a fairly good job, much better than I thought." [End]

___________________________________________________________________

But I think she does as well as (Mayor) Lee Brown," ….. She's done a fairly good job, much better than I thought.

What a low blow! Looks like the Houston Chronicle is cutting Jackson Lee loose.

38 posted on 09/01/2002 12:49:55 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Jolly Rodgers
What are you, some kind of anti-government anarchist whacko?

No. I have no problem with GOVERNMENT. It's POLITICIANS that I have a huge problem with.

39 posted on 09/01/2002 6:51:12 AM PDT by Illbay
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To: capitan_refugio
There is a great book on term limits written by George Will.

That's the one (written back in the early 90s) that got me hyped on the idea.

40 posted on 09/01/2002 6:52:37 AM PDT by Illbay
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To: GOPcapitalist
I always mix her up with Cynthia McKinney the ninny.

So Jackson Lee went to Yale and thought we landed on the moon?
41 posted on 09/01/2002 6:54:51 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: GOPcapitalist
But... but I thought Democrats were the worker's party!

Some enterprising, independent journalist (HA!) should do an investigation of the treatment of employees by Dems and Reps. I wonder which party has the most abusive bosses?

42 posted on 09/01/2002 7:04:10 AM PDT by alley cat
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...
Black conservative ping

If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)

Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.

43 posted on 09/01/2002 7:09:15 AM PDT by mhking
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To: GOPcapitalist

"She also asked me to write a memo telling her why I'm incompetent."

D'oh! How Simsonesque.

44 posted on 09/01/2002 7:09:18 AM PDT by csvset
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To: GOPcapitalist
"...despite her New York roots and Yale education."

Doesn't say much for either the Ivy League nor the IQ's of her constituency when this "Yale educated" woman thought we had planted a flag on Mars rather than the Moon, fercryinoutloud.

I mean...............just how stupid do ya have to be????????????????????

45 posted on 09/01/2002 7:09:38 AM PDT by RightOnline
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To: GOPcapitalist; FreedomPoster; RobFromGa; Guillermo; "Be not afraid!"; Atlantian; .45MAN; LBGA; ...
"Deja-vu" sounds like the same thing only different ***ping***
46 posted on 09/01/2002 7:31:59 AM PDT by dansangel
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To: viligantcitizen; backhoe
Oops....didn't mean to "ping-ignore" you! My bad....
47 posted on 09/01/2002 7:35:17 AM PDT by dansangel
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To: dansangel
Search reveals:

3.  Sheila Jackson-Lee on Boy Scout Board of Directors [Free Republic]
FreeRepublic.com "A Conservative News Forum" [ Last | Latest Posts | Latest Articles | Self Search | Add Bookmark | Post | Abuse | Help! ] Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are th

4.  STATEMENT OF CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE [Free Republic]
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5.  SONG PARODY: Dick VanDyke Theme (for Sheila Jackson Lee) [Free Republic]
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6.  Sheila Jackson Lee and her Million Mom March photo ~ pulling a fast one? [Free Republic]
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7.  Houston to Freep Sheila Jackson Lee - 12/2 Bush Rally [Free Republic]
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8.  Congresswoman hopes to move election day to Veterans Day [Free Republic]
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48 posted on 09/01/2002 7:43:50 AM PDT by backhoe
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To: Lancey Howard
Source: The Sunday Times
Date: Sunday 14 September 1997

A remarkable gaffe

A remarkable gaffe by Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Republican legislator from Texas and member of a congressional space and aeronautics committee, has Capitol Hill abuzz.

On a visit to the Mars Pathfinder mission control centre in California she is reported to have inquired whether the space probe had succeeded in taking pictures of the American flag planted by the astronaut Neil Armstrong in 1969.

"We just don't teach enough science," lamented Vernon Ehlers, another member of the committee.

49 posted on 09/01/2002 7:59:15 AM PDT by Monitor
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To: backhoe
You are the best in all the world! ;-)
50 posted on 09/01/2002 8:06:01 AM PDT by dansangel
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