Every year, Jackson Lee and other like-minded lawmakers –- known collectively as the “aisle hogs” -– spend hours staking out coveted aisle seats in the House chamber for the chance to greet the president before and after the State of the Union address.
“My constituents sent me to the United States Congress to be engaged, to be active, to be energized, and to represent them,” she told ABC News.
The Houston-area Democrat says her constituents appreciate her efforts, though some call the tradition a waste of time.
“It is amazing how many people look and say that they saw their member,” she said. “It’s really pushing back out to your constituents.”
For Jackson Lee, it’s not all about pleasantries: she tries to make the most of her brief encounters with the commander-in-chief.
“The opportunity to greet presidents and share with them ideas and issues that are of concern not only to my constituents in Houston, Texas, but to the 18th Congressional district … has been a bounty of opportunity,” Jackson Lee said.
Video by ABC News' Gary Westphalen. ABC News' Hank Disselkamp contributed.