Redistricting Pits Dallas County Reps Against Each Other
By Shelley Kofler, KERA News
Dallas, TX – State representatives will continue to spar over a redistricting map Thursday as they use 2010 census numbers to redraw election boundaries. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports the new boundaries will likely eliminate some Dallas County seats.
For elected officials redistricting is all about political self preservation- drawing election boundaries around voting areas that typically cast their ballots a certain way.
This session redrawing those boundaries is especially personal for Dallas County. The areas population remained stagnant over the past decade while surrounding counties grew. So it's expected that Dallas will lose two seats in the Texas House while fast growing Denton, Collin and Tarrant counties add seats.
That reality pitted republican against republican Thursday as Linda Harper Brown of Irving presented a plan that carved up Rodney Anderson's Grand Prairie District in an effort to protect her voting block. Anderson was hot.
Anderson: I would like the record to reflect it cuts the fifteenth largest city in the state of Texas into five pieces in Dallas County. You believe that Irving is more important than Grand Prairie, correct?
Harper-Brown: That's not what I'm saying I'm saying the 105th district in Irving is who I represent.
Hispanic and African-American representatives in Dallas County and Houston's Sylvester Turned suggested Harper-Brown's plan was illegal, that it would violate the federal Voting Rights Act by breaking up minority districts.
Turner: I don't want the members to be voting on an amendment or map that reduces the representation of African Americans on this floor.
State representatives waded through dozens of proposals as members sought to protect their turf.