U.S. Representative District 18 Democratic Primary: Incumbent Sheila Jackson Lee faces six challengers

US Congress
Seven candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative for District 18. (Courtesy USGS)

Seven candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative for District 18. (Courtesy USGS)

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee faces six challengers in the Democratic Primary. Get to know the candidates below.

Sheila Jackson Lee


Occupation: Congresswoman of Texas' 18th Congressional District

Campaign website: www.sheilajacksonlee18.com

How does your experience make you the best candidate for this elected office? I have been honored to serve in local, state and federal government which has given me a broad understanding on how each level of government operates and how they work together. I have a passion for fighting for the needs of my constituents and over the years, I have brought over sixty billion dollars into the 18th Congressional District. Being a senior Member of Congress provides me the ability to get results through understanding the legislative process, knowing how to navigate the Executive branch of government, and through the establishment of long-term relationships in both political parties.

What is the most pressing issue, specific to your district, that you would advocate for moving forward? We must fight climate change which causes major natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey and we must provide effective infrastructure that protects our neighborhoods and businesses from these disasters. I will continue to advocate for more funding for new levee and reservoir projects that will protect Houston, for additional disaster recovery assistance, and for more affordable housing.

How will you work to build working relationships across districts and party lines? I work every day to engage people of all backgrounds. I have a wonderful Congressional District that is made up of people with different opinions and different political perspectives. My task is to provide Congressional services for children, students, veterans services, and families, among others; that means securing federal dollars that help strengthen our infrastructure to prevent flooding, provide federal grants to improve public school education, promote community block grants that can help with housing for the homeless, and create more affordable housing. Additionally, I have worked on promoting legislation that enhances and improves our criminal justice system and law enforcement. I wrote the Violence Against Women Act and worked on federal legislation to stop human trafficking. Each of these legislative initiatives provide opportunities for my colleagues and myself to work together.

Michael Allen


Occupation: Candidate


Campaign website: www.michael4congress.com

How does your experience make you the best candidate for this elected office? I believe my background in working with and leading groups with a diversity of backgrounds and opinions has prepared me for this role. Finding common objectives is critical when facing difficult challenges, and my experience in private and non-profit sectors has equipped me with a unique perspective to lead district 18 and by example, the nation. Decision making quality is also key, and I have served in leadership positions where the buck stopped with me. My leadership style has always been to include others and their unique perspectives to reach the best outcomes.

What is the most pressing issue, specific to your district, that you would advocate for moving forward? Gentrification and it's subsidiary evils and elevating the Latino voice.

How will you work to build working relationships across districts and party lines? You must have a heart to build relationships from the beginning. Our campaign does not want to isolate but bring many valued opinions together. It's important to campaign with inclusivity built in, right from the start, and therefore build a strong foundation to launch from later. That's why we have engaged leaders from both sides throughout our process and will continue to do so.

Donovan Boson


Candidate did not respond.

Marc Flores


Candidate did not respond.

Jerry Ford Sr.


Occupation: Owner of 3 Allstate Insurance Agencies and Klean King Janitorial Services (Retired Assistant Fire Chief with the City of Houston)

Campaign website: https://jerryfordsrforcongress.com

How does your experience make you the best candidate for this elected office? For over 25 years, I’ve answered Houston’s call to service as a firefighter, working my way up to the City of Houston's Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Chief. As a business owner for over 30 years, I’ve started several businesses to employ people in our community, paying them a livable wage, healthcare insurance, and helping them provide for their families. My community service is second to none. As a community volunteer, for the past 25 years, I have had the pleasure of giving back to my community by coaching our youth in baseball and basketball and helping them develop into productive citizens. My family and I have partnered with Ford Motor Company for over ten years, raising money for teacher’s school supplies and lunches for school kids.

What is the most pressing issue, specific to your district, that you would advocate for moving forward? I feel the most pressing issue is an economic issue. Earning a good income will heal many of the problems the district face. Although some neighborhoods within the district are doing well, many people in the district are hurting. The 18th district is one of the poorest areas in the State. I would try to bring money into the district for trade school training to help repair our aging infrastructure, which will bring high skills good-paying jobs, I will also put grant money in play to develop entrepreneurs within the communities to own companies that sub-contract the jobs from rebuilding our infrastructure and provide them training on business plans, credit repair and access to bank loans.

How will you work to build working relationships across districts and party lines? I would start building a personal relationship with Republican, Democratic, and Independent on my first day in office. You have to build a personal relationship that could help build correlations to get these done. I would invite a bi-partisan team to tour the 18th district to get a close up to look at the conditions that we face, and I would visit their district to see how we could build bridges and continue to build personal/working relationships across districts and party lines.

Stevens Orozco


Candidate did not respond.

Bimal Patel


Occupation: Optometrist

Campaign website: www.bimalforcongress.com

How does your experience make you the best candidate for this elected office? I am the only candidate that has both a science and healthcare background, as well as creating jobs. I have experience in advocacy and leadership at all levels making me the best candidate to represent TX-18.

What is the most pressing issue, specific to your district, that you would advocate for moving forward? Access to affordable housing and healthcare. I would help institute Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers that also provide housing assistance, mental healthcare, and nutritional counseling.

How will you work to build working relationships across districts and party lines? I will work to first develop a good relationship with my colleagues across the aisle. After you create a positive working relationship it is only then that you can work together on policies that will improve the lives of all Americans.
By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


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