Tarsha Jackson Wins Long-Delayed Houston City Council Runoff Election

The new council member is expected to be sworn in around Dec. 21.


Tarsha Jackson, the new council member for Houston City Council District B, is a longtime criminal justice organizer and vocally supported her opponent Cynthia Bailey in her fight to remain on the ballot despite having been convicted of a felony in the past.

Voters in District B elected Tarsha Jackson to Houston City Council on Saturday, after a slow-moving legal battle kept the race off the ballot for an entire year.

While 15 out of 16 council members were elected in 2019, District B residents waited for their chance to vote.

Jackson is a long-time advocate for criminal justice reform who started organizing after her son was arrested and jailed on a class C misdemeanor in his special needs class. With 68.5% of the vote in the runoff election, Jackson beat challenger Cynthia Bailey.

Bailey runs a nonprofit for local kids, and has spent years cleaning up illegal dumping in the district.

More than a decade ago, Bailey was convicted of theft. In the protracted legal challenge that kept the runoff race off the ballot, the third-place finisher in the general election sued the City of Houston and Harris County, arguing that Bailey was ineligible to run because of a felony conviction.

Ultimately, courts cleared the way for Bailey to run.

District B's term-limited incumbent Council Member Jerry Davis served an additional year on council to represent the district during the election court challenges.

Jackson is a former Harris County director of the progressive group the Texas Organizing Project.

"We are absolutely thrilled at the prospects of her being a powerful voice for the people at City Hall, a policymaker not afraid to ruffle the feathers of the status quo and win the changes our Black and Latino communities deserve," read a statement from Brianna Brown, TOP deputy director.

Jackson is expected to be sworn in around Dec. 21, after the runoff election results are finalized.

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