Updated Jun 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

 Sheila Jackson Lee speaks on stage during the Urban League Whitney M. Young Jr. awards gala at George R. Brown Convention Center on July 28, 2023 in Houston, Texas.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee speaks during an event in Houston, Texas, last July. Photo: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the 74-year-old longtime Texas Democrat announced Sunday night.

The big picture: Jackson Lee announced in a statement posted to X that she's undergoing treatment for a disease "that impacts tens of thousands of Americans every year."

  • The Congressional Black Caucus member who sponsored legislation that resulted in Junteeth being established as a federal holiday noted she "will be occasionally absent from Congress" as she receives treatment.
  • But Jackson Lee added that she's "committed to working with our Congressional Leadership including Leader Hakeem Jeffries and the Speaker of House to serve this nation and be present for votes on legislation that is critical for the prosperity and security of the American people."
"I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease. The road ahead will not be easy, but I stand in faith that God will strengthen me."
— Excerpt from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's statement

Zoom out: Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Budget, in March won a primary election to regain Texas's 18th District seat that comprises parts of Houston after last year losing a bid to become the city's mayor.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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