Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Proposed redistricting map to drastically alter Zaffirini's senate district

Gerrymandering is alive and well in Texas

AUSTIN — Republican leaders in the Texas Senate released a redistricting map Wednesday that would dramatically reshape how San Antonio and Bexar County are represented in the Legislature's upper body.
Under the proposed changes, the number of senators representing San Antonio would slip from four to three because state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, would have a district that completely avoids Bexar County.

Zaffirini was upset that she wouldn't represent San Antonio if the proposal were to pass. The proposal has her district running all the way from Laredo to East Austin's historically black neighborhoods. “I've worked hard for Bexar County,” she said. “I especially carry their higher education agenda passionately; I've made a difference for Bexar County over the years.

”The Senate redistricting committee will hold a hearing on the bill today. Zaffirini said her proposed district brought back memories of the controversial 2003 mid-cycle redistricting map pushed by former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, which transformed U.S. Rep. Lloyd Dogget's district from one that encompassed most of Austin into a “fajita” district that stretched from Austin to the Rio Grande Valley.

Zaffirini wondered how Austin will feel about sharing a senator with Laredo.“I think the people of Austin will not be happy because their first question will be what community of interest is there with Laredo,” Zaffirini said.

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