OC to gain some new representatives
After weeks of haggling and disagreement, Texas now has a district map to work with.
Federal judges in San Antonio entered an order on March 1 setting the Texas primary for May 29 and making certain adjustments to the Texas Election Code to accommodate the new primary date, according to www.txredistrictin.org.
Texas had new districts drawn after the 2010 Census was completed. Census results are used to determine the number of congressional seats apportioned to each state.
Texas currently has 32 members of the United States House of Representatives as a result of the apportionment based on the 2000 census figures. Based on the estimated 2010 census counts, Texas is expected to gain three to four congressional seats based on increased population.
Redistricting is the process by which the boundaries of elective districts are periodically redrawn to maintain equal representation on the basis of population, according to the Texas Legislative Council.
Article III, Section 28, of the Texas Constitution requires the Texas Legislature to redistrict both houses (the Texas House of Representatives and Texas State Senate) at its first regular session after publication of the federal decennial census.
The Legislature meets in odd-numbered years. If the Legislature fails to adopt a redistricting plan by the end of the legislative session, a Legislative Redistricting Board (the “LRB”) consisting of the Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General, and Commissioner of the General Land Office shall convene within 90 days of adjournment and adopt a plan within 60 days of convening.
In addition to redistricting the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas State Senate, as noted above, the Legislature must redistrict Texas’ congressional districts.
The Texas Legislature usually redistricts congressional districts at the first regular session after publication of the federal decennial census (i.e., the 82nd legislative session in 2011). Finally, the Legislature is required to review the fifteen State Board of Education districts (“SBOE”) for any necessary redistricting.
County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said redistricting will also have an effect on Orange County residents.
“We’ll have a brand new congressional district, a brand new state representative and a brand new state senator,” he said.
Gone are U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, State Reps. Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton and Joe Deshotel and State Sen. Tommy Williams. Hamilton will now represent Hardin County and Deshotel Jefferson County. Allan Ritter of Nederland will now represent Orange County.
State Sen. Robert Nichols of Jacksonville will replace Williams.
It is still unknown who will represent the county in the new 36th Congressional District with Max Martin, Mike Jackson, Jim Neidner, Bill Tofte, Lois Myers, Kim Morrell, Jerry Doyle, Stephen Takach and Ky Griffin vying for the position.
“Hopefully we’ll have as good a congressman as we had with Kevin Brady,” Thibodeaux said. “I’ve been knowing Allan Ritter for quite some time and I’m comfortable with him. I’ve met Robert Nichols several times and he’s quite knowledgeable. I look forward to working with him.”
In addition to May 29 being the primary election day, July 31 will be the run-off election day if necessary. Early voting will be from May 14-25.