John Culberson is the third Congressman to represent District Seven. The Texas Legislature created District Seven in 1965, and George H. W. Bush was elected as our first Congressman in 1966. Bill Archer succeeded him in 1970, and John Culberson was elected in 2000.
John Culberson is a native Houstonian and a lifelong resident of District Seven. He and his wife, Belinda, were married in 1989, and their daughter is nine years old. They are members of Memorial Drive United Methodist Church. Congressman Culberson grew up in West University Place, where he attended West University Elementary School. He graduated from Lamar High School, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1981. After college, he worked with his father, Jim Culberson, at his political consulting and advertising agency helping dozens of local and state Republican candidates win their elections. He earned his Juris Doctorate degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston, and until his election to Congress, he practiced law as a civil defense attorney with Lorance and Thompson.
In 1986, John Culberson was elected to the Texas House of Representatives while he was a law student. His principal committee assignments over his fourteen years in the Texas House were the Public Education Committee and the Corrections Committee. Beginning with his first term in 1987, he was a member of the Republican Whip team in the Texas House, and in his last term in 1999, his colleagues selected him to be the Minority Whip.
In Austin, his most significant achievement was his successful eleven year effort to take back control of Texas’ prison system from federal District Judge William Wayne Justice. That experience taught him how to truly restore the 10th Amendment and let Texans run Texas. He did the legal research to design and pass a state law, HB 124 in 1991 to lay the proper legal foundation, and then helped draft key pieces of a federal law, the Prison Litigation Reform Act in 1997, to ensure that the effort would succeed. He then sued Judge Justice in his own courtroom in his official capacity as state representative using these two new laws.
As the Austin American Statesman reported on February 15, 1999, "when Culberson launched his campaign [to take back Texas prisons], most of his fellow lawmakers ignored him. ‘Culberson’s crusade,’ some called it…But few are underestimating Culberson now…" On June 17, 2002, in the landmark prison reform case now known as Ruiz vs. Johnson, et al., and Culberson, et al., Judge Justice signed the final order ending his 30 year reign and returning full authority over state prisons to the Texas Legislature.
Today, the primary reference book on Congress, the National Journal's 2004 Almanac of American Politics, (AAP), reports in its profile of District Seven that after his election in 2000, "Culberson quickly showed his political instincts when he became the freshman representative on the Republican Steering Committee, which makes House Committee assignments." On June 11, 2001, Roll Call newspaper reported that, "After making sure that everyone else in his class was well situated, Culberson was rewarded with [a seat on the House] Transportation Committee. He is particularly pleased since his top local legislative priority is securing funds for the expansion of the Katy Freeway...'My experience in the Texas Legislature and my experience so far in Congress is that doing the right thing for the right reasons always has good consequences,' Culberson said."
On February 2, 2003, the Houston Chronicle reported: "Departing the [Transportation Committee] is Rep. John Culberson, an up and coming conservative who managed to land an even better position. Culberson is on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and this past week was awarded a coveted spot on that panel's Transportation Subcommittee." Congressman Culberson serves on the House Appropriations Committee, and is a member of the House Republican Whip team. He is the only Texan on the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, HUD, USPS, Judiciary and D.C. and also serves on the Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and NASA.
Redistricting has changed District Seven’s boundaries in each one of the last two elections. From 1966 to 2002, the City of Katy was a part of District Seven, but in the 2004 election, the district’s western boundary is Barker Cypress Road north of Interstate 10, and Highway 6 south of I-10. The Texas Legislature kept Westheimer Road as District Seven's southern boundary outside Loop 610. Today, District Seven includes a significant majority of the independent small cities in Harris County, from Jersey Village on the north to West University and the Texas Medical Center on the south and east.