Sheila Jackson Lee on staking out an aisle seat for some TV face time before SOTU: I'm always working on behalf of my constituents
**Written by Doug Powers
Sheila Jackson Lee might think her constituency is ill-informed on some issues (hard to argue with her there — after all, they keep electing Sheila Jackson Lee), but that doesn’t stop her from tirelessly working on their behalf by spending several hours holding an aisle seat for State of the Union speeches:
It’s one of the great ironies of lawmakers who fight for the aisle seat. They wait up to 12 hours (some try to put a book or a coat down, but the Secret Service says this is technically against the rules) to get one of these choice seats, for some sort of personal glory, but the cost can be more than just the time spent protecting their spot.
“I’m always working on behalf of my constituents,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, when asked why she stakes out an aisle seat each year. “I am working on their behalf, and they are seeing me work on their behalf. Many of them are moved by the moment.”
Some other members of Congress don’t consider practically camping out for an aisle seat to be working on behalf of their constituents. If anything, quite the opposite:
“I keep a busy schedule, I don’t have an extra eight hours to keep a seat warm,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia, noting that he often is one of the last Democrats to show up so he often sits in the Republican section.
This may be the most bipartisan message of the whole State of the Union, one that members on both sides of the aisle tend to agree with.
“I don’t have eight hours to waste,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., almost echoing his Democratic colleague. “If you are doing this job well, every minute should be spent going to briefings, researching, and figuring out how to move ahead.
“I’m not giving up eight hours of my time for a minute on national television,” he said.
“On my bucket list, getting one of those spots just isn’t on it,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. “But you know, for the people who do this, it’s probably their 15 seconds of fame.”
How dare he insinuate that Rep. Jackson Lee’s selfless hours of, uh, chair sitting, in return for just a few seconds on TV is just a cheap attempt at temporary fame. There are certain members of Congress, SJL among them, who do their constituents — and indeed the nation — a great service by spending an entire day sitting in a chair doing nothing except waiting for that one, brief, shining moment:
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