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Nueces County objects to bill taking away port appointment

The Port of Corpus Christi is a major gateway to international and domestic maritime commerce. It is the largest port in the United States based on total revenue tonnage. Courtesy photo

Opposition to a Texas House bill moving one of three Port of Corpus Christi commissioner appointments from Nueces County to San Patricio County has been filed by Rep. J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville). Nueces County commissioners voted to oppose that bill during their regular meeting March 17.

San Patricio would have two appointments rather than one to the port board if House Bill 4137 became law. An identical Texas Senate bill was filed by state Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo). Passage of either of those bills would make the number of appointments by the two counties even at two each. The city of Corpus Christi appoints three for a total of seven board members.

A prior attempt to grant more representation to San Patricio County occurred in the last legislative session in 2019. Two different bills were proposed — and failed — to add seats for San Patricio County. One would have granted each of the three governmental entities three appointments for a total of nine commissioners. San Patricio was added to the board of commissioners in 2003. At the time Nueces County had four commissioner appointments. One of those was given to San Patricio.

The second bill from 2019 was much like Lozano’s current bill, taking a seat from Nueces County and giving it to San Patricio.

The argument against increased representation for San Patricio then and now is based on unequal representation per capita. The population of Nueces County is about 362,000, compared to San Patricio’s 66,700.

San Patricio County commissioners argued then and now that most of the industrial development growth in the Coastal Bend is happening in their county.

Rep. Lozano’s district includes San Patricio, Kleberg, Jim Wells, and Bee counties.

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