Congresswoman Reveals Her Cancer Diagnosis

Washington, DC, USA - August 28, 2020: US Congresswoman Sheila Lee Jackson speaks during the Commitment March on Washington for racial equality and justice.

( – Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has announced she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The Democrat said she is undergoing treatment and would likely require some absences from Congress but promised she would be available for crucial votes and her team would continue to serve her constituents.

It is Jackson Lee’s second cancer diagnosis. In 2012, she made a full recovery from breast cancer, later saying how delighted she was to have been granted more time with her friends and family. Following her latest announcement, she stated that she has faith in God to help her along the tough road ahead, and she hopes to be well again before too long.

Rep. Jackson Lee’s diagnosis comes after a hectic few years involving high-profile elections, including her run for Mayor of Houston, which she lost in a runoff against State Senator John Whitmire. During her campaign, she became embroiled in scandal as leaked audio footage provoked questions about her treatment of staff. When that campaign ended, she entered another for her US House of Representatives seat, which she first won in 1994.

New York-born Jackson Lee entered the House after challenging then-Houston Congressman Craig Washington, who was under fire for opposing popular local projects. In the primaries, she defeated Washington with 63% of the vote before trouncing Republican Jerry Burly with 73% and embarking on a career that would make her a national figure, partly due to controversies surrounding her behavior.

For example, in 2017, she accused a fellow American Airlines passenger of racism after she complained about having to give up her first-class seat to accommodate the Congresswoman. In 2023, she was subject to Republican fury when she called for the criminalization of “white supremacy.”

The Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023 (LAWS) sought to outlaw “white supremacy-inspired hate crime” but immediately came under fire as Republicans accused her of riding roughshod over the First Amendment. The bill did not progress through Congress.

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