With national redistricting of congressional seats upon us, and state legislatures begin to discuss how boundaries will be redrawn to accommodate the change in their respective state’s population, some politicians like Texas Democratic Reps. Veronica Escobar, Sylvia Garcia, and Sheila Jackson Lee have little faith in their Texas Republican counterparts to do a good, fair job in redrawing the lines and will gerrymander the new congressional districts.
Because of the unprecedented population growth in Texas, the Lone Star start garnered (2) new congressional seats after the 2020 Census was concluded, seats that Democrats believe should be drawn in heavy urban Latino areas of the state. Other states like Florida, who were expected to also receive two seats, only received one.
“Oh, absolutely not,” said Rep. Garcia when Texas Politics asked her if she believed Texas Republican-controlled legislature would draw the lines fairly, adding that “there’s probably not going to anything fair about the lines” and that “it will probably be some of the most gerrymandered seats that we’ve ever seen.”
Garcia added that she was sure that Gov. Greg Abbott “and his Republican allies” were planning to draw those new seats into Republican-friendly districts.
“Texas was lucky to get two and I’m sure that that the governor and his Republican allies are already planning to make those two Republican seats when we know it’s not their growth that has contributed to this,” added Garcia.
Both Reps. Escobar and Jackson Lee echoed Garcia’s sentiment the Texas Republicans would unfairly draw the news districts and ignore Latino or “minority communities.”
“Those districts are truly the growth of the minority communities seen,” said Rep. Lee during an interview with Texas Politics. “I just hope that the Republicans can put state and people over their partition beliefs and realize that those districts should be written that would give people of color the right to choose a person of their selection— that’s what the voting rights act of 1965 was meant to be.”
Escobar believes that the current lines like the congressional district represented by Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw, are “gerrymandered” and that she had very low expectations of the Republican-controlled legislature to redraw fair maps.
“When you look at the gerrymandering in Texas, those districts, so many of those districts, are absurd. The lines that are drawn are laughable. They are not fairly drawn. I wish I could expect better from our Republican-controlled legislature, but I don’t,” said Salazar.
The representatives are right in the sense that urban areas around the state have seen the biggest influx in population, particularly in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas of the state, and the recent and final population demographics put out by the state of Texas confirm their assertions.
According to U.S. Census Bureau, the Houston-are cities of The Woodlands and Sugarland, and the Dallas-are cities of Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Arlington, have received the bulk of the incoming population growth in Texas, and not the Rio Grande Valley or San Antonio, as Rep. Garcia suggested.
These are predominantly white areas of the state.
The City of Fort Worth:
White: 63.76% Black or African American: 18.90% Other race: 9.03% Asian: 4.56%
White (Non-Hispanic) (71.4%), White (Hispanic) (13.9%), Asian (Non-Hispanic) (5.64%), Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) (4.31%), and Two+ (Non-Hispanic) (1.89%)
City of Sugarland;
White: 52.05% Asian: 36.57% Black or African American: 6.96% … Native American: 0.21%
Because the U.S. Census numbers came in so late, a special session in the Texas legislature will be called this fall to address the 2022 redistricting effort.