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Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Statement on the Ouster of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

Jackson Lee: “Secretary Tillerson never had the full confidence of the president he serves, and the president never quite had full confidence in Secretary Tillerson.”

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of both the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security, released the following statement in response to the president’s firing of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, and the announcement of his intention to nominate Michael Pompeo, the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as his next Secretary of State, and of Gina Haspel, to fill Mr. Pompeo’s position, should both be confirmed by the United States Senate.

“The revolving door at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue continues to turn.  This time the person ousted is Rex Tillerson, our country’s 69th Secretary of State.  Since its beginning, this administration has been plagued by a failure of management as well as a suspicious appeasement towards Russia.  In his last hours as this country’s top diplomat, these two trends appear to have converged yet again.

More than anything the timing of Mr. Tillerson’s firing is deeply troubling.  On Monday afternoon Theresa May, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, our nation’s closest ally, took to the House of Commons to attribute to the Russian Federation, the poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil.  Secretary Tillerson echoed Prime Minister May and also blamed the Russians.  Hours later, President Trump fired Secretary Tillerson from his post.  The president’s decision to fire Secretary Tillerson after he stood in solidarity with the leader of our closest ally is confounding.   The United States must stand tall with Great Britain as it explores whether, in response to this attack, to invoke NATO’s Article 5 assurance of collective defense.

Secretary Tillerson’s firing also comes after the administration announced, with much fanfare, that it was convening a summit between the President of the United States and the leader of North Korea, scheduled for May 2018.  Mr. Trump’s firing of Secretary Tillerson leaves open the very real prospect that for this critical bilateral summit, the United States will be without the counsel of its top diplomat.

“Also, it is not clear that Secretary Tillerson ever had the full confidence of the president he serves, and the president never quite had full confidence in Secretary of State Tillerson.  Whether it was Secretary Tillerson’s considered judgment that the United States should remain part of the Paris Climate Accord, abide by the Iran Nuclear deal, or minimize the bellicose rhetoric directed towards North Korea, Secretary Tillerson’s reasonable views always seemed out of place in this White House, and were frequently disparaged in a Trump tweet.

“For an administration that promised to hire the best people, we have seen very little evidence of this in action.  Instead, we have seen cabinet secretaries feeding at the trough; a White House staff rife with unprofessionalism; and personnel decisions designed to cover-up the president’s associations with and connections to Russia.  I encourage the United States Senate to conduct a fulsome and searching inquiry into Secretary of State-Designee Pompeo and Central Intelligence Director-Designee Haspel.

Rex Tillerson has had a long career, many years of which he spent as CEO of ExxonMobil, based in Houston.  I thank him for his service to this country and I wish him and his wife, Renda, well in their future endeavors.

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Mayor Turner’s statement on the death of Houston City Council Member Larry Green

Breaking New: Houston City Council Member Larry Green found dead Tuesday morning in his home

Houston District K Councilmember Larry Green is dead. He was elected to the newly created District K

in 2011 and served until his death on March 6, 2018.

Larry Green 52, District K Houston City Councilman was found dead in his home Tuesday morning. Green’s death has caused sadness throughout the city for he was known for high visibility and as a working representative for his constituents. According to the Houston Police Department, foul play is not expected in the death of the southwest Councilman.

 

HOUSTON – Statement by Mayor Sylvester Turner:

“I am shocked and grieving over the untimely death of Houston Council Member Larry Green. But one person’s feelings are secondary to the fact that all of Houston has lost a groundbreaking advocate for equality, economic opportunity and neighborhood safety.

“Larry Green was the first and only District K council member following the south/southwest district’s creation for the 2011 municipal elections. He was the right person to give definition to this new alliance of neighborhoods and businesses: A hard worker. Not a grandstander. He shared in the economic advances and public safety strides of the district without taking the credit for himself. ‘We’ have fought together ‘to build up the economy of District K,’ he wrote on his campaign website.

“Council Member Green was fond of pointing out that his council district had more undeveloped land than any other and was therefore ‘filled with opportunities.’  Well so was he, and part of this tragedy is that he is no longer with us to follow through in his uniquely industrious way.

“He advocated persistently for all business people to have a fair shot at doing business with city government, such as for construction and supply vending. That focus of his, he said, was ‘so that every business owner has an opportunity to do business with the city – regardless of their age, race, sex, sexual orientation or distinguishing factor.’

“Council Member Green captured the essence of being an enlightened public servant for Houston. My heart goes out to his family, his colleagues and all city residents.”

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TSU recognizes Black History Month with celebration

Texas Southern is kicking off Black History Month with the Black History is Our History campaign. This initiative will recognize those who have contributed to the University’s rich 90-year history and the local, national and global community. Historical images and anecdotes will be highlighted around campus and the University’s publications, website, and social media platforms throughout February.

This campaign will continue TSU’s 90-year anniversary celebratBlack History is Our Historyion. TSU students, alumni, faculty, staff, and stakeholders are encouraged to submit any story ideas, photos, or memorabilia to support this effort. A calendar of events will be posted to keep the TSU community informed about all Black History Month events that will be held on campus.

Follow TSU on Facebook at @texassouthernuniversity, Twitter at @texassouthern, and Instagram at @texassouthern. For story ideas and calendar submissions, e-mail the TSU Office of Communications at media@tsu.edu.

 

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TSU’s Debate Team claims first HBCU championship

The world-renowned Debate Team at Texas Southern University won the inaugural HBCU National Speech and Debate Championship Tournament on January 28 at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. The three-day competition featured teams from 22 historically Black colleges and universities from across the country.

TSU’s debaters had earned enough points at the end of the competition to receive the National Overall Sweepstakes Championship trophy. The team also picked up trophies for Debate Team and Individual Events sweepstakes, first place in both Impromptu Speaking and Slam Poetry, second place in Impromptu Speaking and third place in Programmed Oral Interpretation. TSU collected 20 awards in multiple categories.

The TSU Debate Team is preparing for an international competition in Montreal, Quebec in March. Dr. Gloria Batiste-Roberts is the head coach of TSU’s Debate Team, along with assistant coaches Wendell King II and Sondera Malry, and graduate assistants Shekia Rogers and Okwildilli OnyekaweluAntréchelle Dorsey is president of the Debate Team. Dr. Thomas F. Freeman, 96, is in his 68th year at Texas Southern and continues to work with the team. TSU debaters have garnered several international titles during the team’s existence.

TSU’s rich history in debating dates back to 1949 under the leadership of Dr. Freeman, professor emeritus and Debate Team head coach. Dr. Freeman and former Wiley College debate team coach, the late Melvin Tolson, were inducted into the HBCU Debate League Debate Hall of Fame at the event.

The tournament concluded with Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, president of Wiley College, conferring an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to legendary actor Denzel Washington. Washington brought attention to African-American debaters in the film The Great Debaters.

The following HBCUs participated in the competition: Bethune-Cookman, Fisk, Hampton, Howard, Huston-Tillotson, Jackson State, Jarvis Christian, Lawson State, North Carolina AT&T, North Carolina Central, Paul Quinn, Philander Smith, Prairie View A&M, Rust, Southwestern Christian, Talladega, Tennessee State, Texas College, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Wiley and Xavier of Louisiana.

The TSU Debate Team is open for membership to any undergraduate student anytime during the semester without regard to previous training or experience. Meetings are held every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and workshops are held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Paige Education Building – Suite 112. Students are invited to visit and consult with the team’s coaches on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.