Lame-Duck Texas Rep. Gets Down to Work Without DeLay
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Shelley Sekula-Gibbs was sworn in as a congresswoman on Monday night and already she's a lame duck. Because of a weird electoral quirk, her brief term in office expires next month.
But you couldn't tell that by listening to her.
"I'm working hard to accomplish the things I'm working for," she said yesterday. "For tax cuts. For immigration reform. To make sure we have a good solution for the war in Iraq."
All that? In a few weeks?
"If there's a way to do it, I'll do it," she said, smiling beneath her bright blond hair. "I'll deal with the leadership to get as much done as possible."
Sekula-Gibbs (R-Tex.) won a race for Congress on Nov. 7. She also lost a race for Congress on Nov. 7. It's a long story:
Tom "The Hammer" DeLay, the former House majority leader who was indicted on money-laundering charges, resigned from Congress last spring after winning the Republican primary. Last week, voters in DeLay's old district, the 22nd, got to cast two votes for Congress. The Texas voters elected Sekula-Gibbs to fill the remaining portion of DeLay's term -- but they elected Democrat Nick Lampson to succeed DeLay in the Congress that takes office in January, a race that Sekula-Gibbs had to run as a write-in candidate.
That makes for a very short congressional career for Sekula-Gibbs, 53, who is a member of the Houston City Council and a dermatologist -- probably two or three weeks, if you don't count recesses. But she'll retain all the perks that any other ex-member gets, such as use of the House gym and access to the House floor.
On Monday evening, just before she took the oath of office, Sekula-Gibbs held her first congressional news conference in her new office, which is DeLay's old office. Wearing a blue pantsuit with a fuchsia blouse and a string of pearls, she quickly proved that she has mastered the art of the well-worn political bromide.
She said: "I'm proud that the people of the 22nd Congressional District honored me with their votes."
She said: "I'm blessed by God. This really is a gift from God."
She said: "I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting as much done as I can accomplish."