BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Tuesday, Texas State Representative District 43 J.M. Lozano submitted an amendment to redraw Cameron County Districts 37 and 38.
“My reading of the proposed amendment that you have, draws my house out of District 37 and into District 38—is that correct?,” said Alex Dominguez, Texas State Representative District 37.
“It draws it into district 38,” said Lozano.
Representative Lozano said during the floor debate on Tuesday that he grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and said unspecified people in Harlingen told him they wanted to re-map District 37.
“Once people started hearing about potential retirements or people running for higher office they said ‘hey can we be with Willacy [County] again? ‘can we be a district that is competitive?” said Lozano.
Texas State Representative District 38 Eddie Lucio III said he does not believe Lozano spoke with anyone from the Rio Grande Valley.
Political Science Chair and professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Clyde Barrow, said this is what Gerrymandering looks like
“What it implies is you have very oddly shaped geographic electoral districts that are designed to give a partisan advantage to the party in power,” said Barrow. “It has often been used for the purposes of racial discrimination.”
Barrow said Gerrymandering in Texas often caters to rural communities that are mostly conservative.
“The reality is that 90% of people in Texas today live in urban areas this is not cowboy country anymore and yet the issue that concern people in urban areas are not being addressed by the state legislature because of this gerrymandering,” said Barrow.
Both Lucio and Dominguez said it was more shocking that this was the first time Lozano ever mentioned this to them.
“This is very disingenuous, like he said, it was filed 10 minutes before the deadline to file amendments for this floor,” said Lucio.
Dominguez said the communities in unincorporated areas of Brownsville could be negatively impacted.
“So those folks—statistically are the most impoverished people in the state of Texas, and you have now drawn them into a district that for them to go see their representative they going to have to drive an hour to go see within the same county,” said Dominguez.
Lozano said his intentions were to make District 37 more competitive by using a map from 2011.
“This is the way it was in 2011,” said Lozano.
“Right, and it was fixed correctly by a Republican administration at the time and everything that was supposed to have transpired and been accomplished has been accomplished, so why are we reverting back?” said Lucio.
The spokesperson for Representative Dominguez said he will finish his term that ends in December 2022 and has not decided what he will do for the next election.