8.14.2006

Fajita Strip District Sent Back to the Kitchen

Tom DeLay had a large part in securing the majority in the House of Representatives several years back. He did it by engineering the re-drawing of the congressional districts in Texas. While the re-drawing itself wasn't illegal, it reeked of political opportunism, and really, gerrymandering. Several Democrats who lost their seats succeeded in bringing their case to the federal court system, and received a mixed bag of judgments. While the court didn't find wholesale gerrymandering in the maps, they did order a re-drawing of certain districts. They found that DeLay's map diluted Hispanic representation, which violated the Voting Rights Act.

My fellow Austinites and I were greatly affected by DeLay's devilism. Austin, long known as the liberal bastion in Texas, was split into 4 districts, effectively eliminating any congressional representation we had. As far as I'm concerned, that's gerrymandering. Fortunately, my residence fell in the beloved Lloyd Doggett's district, who doesn't seek out the spotlight, but is known as one of the most progressive Reps in the House. However, my district was a thin strip of land that stretched to the border of Mexico. Only the Repubs would think that border citizens and Austinites would have issues in common that needed representation in Congress.

Back to the first paragraph, a new map has been released, giving Mr. Doggett yet another new district. This, too, is a mixed bag. While he now represents most of Travis County (where Austin is located), the city is still split in 3 districts. As he notes in the article, he now represents conservative Lakeway, yet he doesn't represent the neighborhoods around his and mine alma mater - University of Texas (those fortunate students are represented by Lamar Smith, whose district is mainly situated in San Antonio - again, two constituency groups that have little in common). Furthermore, Doggett lost the support of the Rio Grande Valley hispanics, who vote overwhelmingly Democrat, and now has to contend with the conservative rural voters in south-central Texas. According to preliminary estimations, the 25th District will support a Democrat candidate with 54% of the vote, the Republican will receive 42%, and the Libertarian will receive 3%. This isn't quite the ass-kicking Doggett gave Rebecca Armendariz Klein in the 2004 election, where he took 68% of the vote. That's what Rebecca gets for re-instating her maiden name during the campaign in order to curry support from the Hispanics.

Fresh Catch enthusiastically supports Lloyd Doggett, and donations to his campaign can be made here.


I would just like to say a big THANK YOU to Lloyd, not only because he actually speaks for me, but for a personal reason. When mine and Tuna's father passed away, we had a difficult time in securing our inherited money from the Social Security Administration, and were told no action would happen on this case unless a Congressman intervened. I wrote to Mr. Doggett, who promptly called the SSA and got our money to us, so that we could pay the after-death expenses. I have never experienced such personal help from a Congressman, and I will never forget it. He also was never too busy to come and speak at a University Democrats meeting, where I had the good fortune of meeting him.

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