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Old 12-27-2017, 03:52 PM   #1
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Default Texas Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee Strikes Again.

Blog post back in 2007

Texas Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee Strikes Again.

I just had my second experience with Houston's own congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee. She lived up to her name for being nasty, rude, and outrageous behavior on board the aircraft. I almost felt the need to remind her she is one of 32 in Texas and there is a reason the seats face me, not her. I also found an article that outlined her behavior before Continental banned her from flying for a year. I would love to hear some more experiences other than the ones posted in this Washington DC article. She's back and unchanged...Beware!

VANITY and a sense of victimhood are handmaidens to Jackson Lee when traveling. Just ask Continental Airlines, her hometown carrier.

For years, Jackson Lee tormented the airline's office in Washington that handles VIP booking. When Congress was in session, her staff would make several reservations early in the week for return flights to Houston. After the House finished its business that week, she would grab whichever flight was most convenient and scrap the others. But this kind of rule-bending put the carrier in a difficult position. Not only was Jackson Lee only paying coach fare (she was routinely bumped up to first class), but Continental was unable to sell the premier seats she didn't use.

Meanwhile, airline crew regularly complained about Jackson Lee's rudeness. Continental managers, however, feared reprisal and saw little they could do. "After medicine, airlines are the most heavily regulated industry in the United States," says a lobbyist for a Texas-based carrier. "Every airline feels they have to kiss up to Congress; they always feel their livelihood is in Congress's hands."

But in February 1998, things finally came to a head. On a flight home to Houston, Jackson Lee became enraged when flight attendants failed to produce the seafood special she liked. "Don't you know who I am?" she reportedly thundered. "I'm Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Where is my seafood meal? I know it was ordered!"

That outburst prompted a phone call to Jackson Lee from Rebecca Cox, vice president of Continental's government affairs office in Washington and the wife of California Republican Chris Cox. The message? Straighten up and fly right, or don't fly with us.

Cox did not return calls seeking comment, but a member of Jackson Lee's staff who fielded the call remembered Cox saying, "[Jackson Lee] screamed at the top of her lungs at least a minute. She embarrassed the flight attendants and the passengers in first class. And she embarrassed herself." Cox then joked, "We have already given her the Delta Airlines schedule."

Jackson Lee got back on board with Continental, but not for long. In May 1999, as Continental flight 1961 prepared to leave Reagan National Airport in Washington, Jackson Lee became flustered when she couldn't find her purse. Thinking she had left it in the boarding area, she went back to search for it. Meanwhile, the plane pulled away from the gate. Moments later, her purse was found onboard. According to aviation lobbyists at the time, Jackson Lee demanded that she be let back on the flight. Airline employees explained that FAA rules prohibit planes from returning to the gate once they've taxied away, but Jackson Lee was unconvinced. She accused the gate staff of racism and demanded to see their supervisor, who was a black woman. Her purse, meanwhile, was unceremoniously dropped out of the cockpit window and ferried back to her.

A year earlier, at a March 2, 1998, reenactment of the march on Selma, an irate Jackson Lee called her scheduler in D.C. demanding to know why she hadn't been given a ride to the event by the organizer, as a white colleague had been. According to the aide--who quit after just a month and a half on the job--Jackson Lee shrieked, "You don't understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen."

It will come as no surprise to learn that Jackson Lee is regarded as one of the most difficult members of Congress for whom to work. House records show that her office has bled staff, losing at least 85 full-time employees since 1995. In addition to schedulers, executive assistants, and "travel aides," she has run through 13 chiefs of staff and legislative directors, generally a congressional office's top two positions. By comparison, Rep. Mark Foley, an active and visible Florida Republican who entered with Jackson Lee in 1995, has lost 17 employees over the same period.

Despite her well-publicized flaps, Jackson Lee shows no signs of mending her ways. When her December 6 flight to Houston was unexpectedly diverted to an alternate gate, for example, a fellow passenger says the congresswoman was on the phone in a matter of seconds after deplaning, berating a staffer who was to pick her up for not anticipating the change. Indeed, soon after the FAA issued emergency regulations in the wake of September 11 prohibiting anyone but ticketed passengers in the gate area, aviation sources say Jackson Lee's office placed "multiple phone calls" to the agency demanding a special exemption for her entourage. The request was denied.
"Picking on mentally retarded people is not cool. But it sure does make a good video."
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