FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2003
AUSTIN, TX--State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., today voted against a controversial proposal to redraw congressional district lines in Texas. The bill, House Bill 3, passed the Senate Jurisprudence Committee by a vote of four to three and now moves to the Senate Floor for consideration.
"Today is truly a sad day for the people of Texas, the people have spoken loud and clear against redistricting," said Senator Lucio. "The Texas Senate held hearings across the state and over 3,000 Texans testified. Some 89.4% of these people, plus hundreds of my constituents and nearly every newspaper in the state emphatically said 'No' to redistricting. I support the will of the people and voted against HB 3. I hope the Senate will not choose the wishes of the few over the will of the citizens of this state."
Sen. Lucio expressed serious concern about the impact of the bill on the Border region. HB 3 would create four districts along the lower Rio Grande Valley, below Laredo; one based in San Antonio; another stretching from Hidalgo to Austin; another that runs from the Valley to Bastrop County in Central Texas; and yet another would have redistricted Brownsville together with Corpus Christi, leaving Nueces County whole but splitting up Cameron County.
"This map destroys communities of interest across the state, but particularly in the Valley. It splits Hidalgo and Cameron County in three places and dilutes our opportunities to elect Congressmen or Congresswomen who represent our area," noted Sen. Lucio. "Cameron County is one of the fastest growing regions of the country, and its many unique needs as a Border county dealing with the impact of NAFTA and water issues differ strongly from those of other areas like Central Texas."
"I am unalterably opposed to any map that splits Cameron County or that silences the voice of Border Texans," stated Sen. Lucio. "I only hope that we can bring bi-partisanship back to the Texas Senate that has been compromised by a few partisan statewide leaders and legislators. I will work my hardest to restore the cooperation that has been a trademark of the Texas Senate, but I cannot support a plan that does not have the interests of South Texans at heart."