Updated: Apr 16
Sheila Jackson Lee is not just a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, she's one of the 5 vice chairs of the CPC-- although the only one with a ProgressivePunch "C" rating. The others all have "A" vote score. On top of her bad voting record, she's not the kind of progressive advocate a district like Houston's TX-18 needs and deserves. This district, which encompasses every historically black community is Houston, is Harris County's poorest. Yet Jackson-Lee is nowhere on Medicare-for-All.
The district has a PVI of D+27 and gave Trump just 23.0% of it's vote last year. The district is so safe that Jackson Lee doesn't both running a vigorous campaign or a turn out the vote effort. Because of her laziness-- and that of other Democrats in safe gerrymandered districts-- Trump won the state. Democratic turnout in TX-18 was abysmal-- just 56%, compared to nearly 70% statewide. If solid blue districts like TX-18 had real leaders, Texas would have swung to Biden last year, giving Trump an opportunity to whine about another state he could insist was "stolen." This district is 42% Latinx, 36% African-America, 18% white and 3% Asian-American.-- with a 22% poverty rate. If not their elected officials, who is going to teach them the importance of voting?
Blue America is endorsing Charles Thompson, a 32 year old public school teacher, born and raised in TX-18. It's time for Sheila Jackson Lee to retire and make way for a progressive fighter-- a real one. We think Charles Thompson would make a much better member of Congress and we asked him to introduce himself today by way of a guest post. The 2020 congressional thermometer on the left is a live-link that will take you to a Blue America page where you can contribute to Charles' campaign if you like what he has to say.
Accessibility is Liberation
-by Congressional Candidate, Charles Thompson
I was born to a multiethnic, working class family in the historically Black community of 3rd Ward in Houston, Texas. My family has been deeply rooted in the 3rd Ward for three generations. I grew up with a love and sense of pride for my neighborhood because of it’s strong Black culture. Along with this pride, I also grew up with an understanding that your access to various opportunities depended heavily on your zip code.
I witnessed the impact of racial, educational, and economic discrepancies as a child, and I have continued to see the same issues in my beloved neighborhood, and other communities within the 18th district worsen to what they are today. We cannot continue to put these disproportionately Black and Hispanic communities on the backburner while more privileged areas continue to thrive.
We need a TRUE progressive who is willing to fight for educational, racial, and economic issues that will help the people of the 18th district prosper in ways they never have before. I believe in fighting for access to the resources and opportunities they so greatly deserve.
My experiences as a child and the love for my neighborhood inspired me to pursue a career in education. I wanted to work with students and communities who are underserved. throughout my 8 year career, I have served as a classroom teacher and assistant principal. I am all too familiar with the large gaps between predominately White schools and Black and Hispanic schools. The current model is set to benefit more privileged communities. My students struggle for access to resources and materials essential to success. Meanwhile, their White counterparts, and their teachers, in more privileged areas have an overabundance of resources that better prepare them for college and job opportunities.
Neglecting to actively fight for changes in our schools causes generational disparities between the communities I have served and those of privilege. My students, and every student like them, deserves the same access to opportunities as everyone else. To be clear, inequity within schools does not stop in the classroom, it bleeds into all other aspects of life.
I have worked with students who are forced to be caregivers to younger siblings and are in charge of maintaining their household while their parents work. This is the reality for many families in Black and Hispanic communities because their parents simply cannot afford to earn a living wage working one job. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour is a crucial step in improving the lives of many people in the 18th district.. We must stop allowing those in the service industry to continue living on $7.25 an hour. People should not have to work multiple jobs to simply put food on the table and have a roof over their head. In a country like ours, minimum wage must be a living wage.
$15 an hour should be the floor, not the ceiling.
When we increase the minimum wage, we give communities the ability to effectively provide for their families. One example of this is affordable housing. It is mind blowing that residents in the 18th district spend more than 30% of their income on rent. It is time to fight for change in this injustice because families deserve the basic right to affordable housing. People in these communities also deserve an easier route to homeownership rather than being forced to rent.
It should come as no surprise that corporate Democrats and establishment members, like Sheila Jackson Lee, do not have a strong stance on the issue of Medicare for All. Throughout the duration of the incumbent’s nearly three decade term in office, there has been a need for Medicare for All within this district. With some people in the 18th district having an uninsured rate as high as 25%. As a matter of fact, she receives generous donations from some of the largest health insurance companies. Now is time for a change!
The issues of race, education, minimum wage, housing, and healthcare are not independent of each other. They are forever linked.
You cannot be an advocate for education reform, but be complacent when it comes to minimum wage.
You cannot speak out on the racial injustices drowning Black and Brown communities, but watch idly as these same communities face generational poverty.
You cannot continue to consistently take donations from large corporations, but not take strong stances on progressive policies that will improve the lives of constituents.
I am running to be the representative for the 18th Congressional District because I have seen those in my community remain stagnant in generational, economic, and educational poverty for nearly three decades under Sheila Jackson Lee’s watch. It is time to fight for true change. We cannot, and will not, continue to introduce and vote on legislation that had little to no benefit for the people of the 18th district as the incumbent has done time and time again. The time of symbolic action is over. The time for continuing to vote for corporate democrats and establishment members with no real progressive ideas, and no real plan for meaningful change in their communities, is over. The time for symbolic philanthropy and lack of relevant, purposeful action is over.
I am prepared to fight for true equity for the 18th district so future generations are provided with the same opportunities as surrounded areas of Houston. It is time for a new vision and REAL change.