Congresswoman Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (’93) speaks to SPEC, WHEE

On+Feb.+18%2C+Congresswoman+Lizzie+Pannill+Fletcher+%28%2793%29+spoke+to+members+of+SPEC+and+WHEE+about+her+work+on+the+House+Science%2C+Space+and+Technology+Committee.

Bailey Maierson

On Feb. 18, Congresswoman Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (’93) spoke to members of SPEC and WHEE about her work on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Bailey Maierson, Staff Writer

Although Congresswoman Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (‘93) may not have considered herself to be a science person in high school, she now serves on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee to improve global energy concerns. 

Senior WHEE leader Mia Murillo, who invited Fletcher to speak to the St. John’s Political Club and Women Helping Empower Each other, began working for Fletcher in 2017 during her primary campaign and continued interning on her team through the runoff and general elections. 

Fletcher, who represents Texas’ 7th Congressional District, is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Energy in the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and she serves on the Committee on Environment. 

“It’s really important for me to remind people that I represent the energy capital of the world and that members of Congress care about the environment and addressing climate change too,” she said. “Right here in Washington are some of the creative minds that are gonna come up with solutions for the 7th District.”

She mentioned that what Congress needs to include everyone in their “national conversation.” Members of Congress must tackle ongoing energy issues as a global problem and be leaders in this situation. 

“I was very excited to bring Lizzie back to St. John’s, where she had last spoken when she was still a candidate running in a crowded primary field,” Murillo said. “A lot has changed for her in the past two and a half years, so I was eager for her to share those updates—both personal and legislative—with our students.

Murillo was most impressed with the audience’s participation as students posed policy-rich questions about National Institutes of Health funding and carbon taxes. 

“The questions asked allowed Lizzie to delve deep into the issues she works closely with on a day-to-day basis in her Committees,” Murillo said. 

When asked about introducing her first bill to Congress that helped Houstonians recover from natural disasters more efficiently, Fletcher noted how growing up in such a tight-knit community in Houston compelled her to create the bill in the first place. 

“The first bill I introduced was very much rooted in my experiences here in Houston, like talking to people in the city about our recovery from Harvey and what [the federal government] could have done to make it better,” she said. 

Fletcher was able to get bipartisan cosponsors, like Congressman Pete Olson, whose district includes much of Southern Houston, to work with her. 

“Unlike some of the things you see and read about, the bill passed 409 to 7,” she said. “There was a whole lot of agreement that this was a really good thing to do.”

She added that the most important thing students at SJS can do now is become engaged. As a member of Congress, Fletcher has had the opportunity to see how many people are engaging with her office daily.

“Working together with your friends to make the world a better place is a fun thing to do. That has certainly been my experience in Congress,” she said. “There are a lot of really good people who care about the future of this country and who are working together to try to make it better.”