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.