Rep. Hunter to Chair Texas Redistricting Committee
State Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) will chair the state’s Redistricting Committee, announced Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan on Thursday, Feb. 4. Hunter will also serve on the State Affairs and the International Relations and Economic Development committees.
“The work of redistricting is never easy,” Hunter said in a statement. “But I am fully committed to a fair process, and I look forward to working with my fellow members of this committee on the task at hand.”
Redistricting happens once every 10 years and is based on the most current U.S. Census count. The 150-member committee will redraw political boundaries for state congressional delegations, Texas House and Senate seats, and the State Board of Education.
“Chairman Hunter has the trust and respect of all members needed to lead the House through the redistricting process,” Speaker Phelan said. “I have confidence in Chairman Hunter’s leadership in this important role.”
The role can also be controversial. The last redistricting effort began in 2011 and took seven years to litigate. A final map was not approved until a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018.Lawsuits claiming lawmakers intentionally discriminated against voters of color were upheld in lower courts. Meanwhile, interim maps were used for elections in 2012 and then adopted as the official maps in 2013.
At one point in 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated three Coastal Bend districts, including Texas State District 32, currently represented by Hunter. Also invalidated were U.S. House District 27, currently represented by Michael Cloud, and State District 34, currently represented by Abel Herrero.
In the 2018 ruling Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas et.al. Applicants vs. Shannon Perez, et.al., justices voted 5-4 to throw out two lower court rulings that found Texas lawmakers intentionally drew district lines to weaken the voting power of minorities in the state.
Now, the curtain opens on the 2021 redistricting efforts, which will determine new lines for the 2022 mid-term elections.
Hunter was also appointed to the State Affairs committee, which he served on last session as well, and the International Relations & Economic Development Committee. Hunter called this all “good news for the Coastal Bend.”
“It’s great for our area,” Hunter said of the appointments. “In the State Affairs Committee, we deal with all state-wide issues. As for International Relations & Economic Development, what better topic for this area. We are seeing Texas develop and we are seeing all sorts of things develop in the Coastal Bend.”
In other Coastal Bend committee appointments, state Rep. J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville) will serve as vice chair of the Public Education Committee and member of the Transportation Committee and state Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown) will serve as vice chairman of the Energy Resources Committee and member of the Agriculture & Livestock Energy Resources Committee.
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