*Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) is speaking out about how the new Texas congressional map carves up her district, pitting her against her neighboring Black incumbent, Rep. Al Green (D) in the primary election.
Here’s more from The Washington Post:
Jackson Lee, 71, is the second-longest-serving member from the Texas delegation, having represented the 18th District for nearly three decades. Since it was won by Barbara Jordan in 1972, the first Black woman to represent the state, the boundaries have largely remained the same. But now, Texas Republicans in charge of redistricting have advanced a map that would remove downtown Houston, with Jackson Lee’s main office, two universities and the predominantly Black Third Ward neighborhood, considered the center of Black life in Houston, from the 18th District.
“I’m very hurt,” Green, 74, said in an interview with The Post. “I’ve lived long enough to see change and progress. This is a retrogression that takes us back to a time when persons who had the authority could abuse that authority with impunity, I just hope that this is not just the case.”
Critics of the redistricting plan say it’s a racial gerrymander intended to weaken Black voices in Congress, per the report.
Texas state Rep. Ron Reynolds (D), said in a statement that “now the fight will be to keep the amendment on [the map] that corrected the pairing of Congressman Al Green and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.”
Per The Post, Green and Jackson Lee appealed to the Texas Republicans in a Sept. 29 letter, calling the new lines an “act of racial discrimination.” Despite their efforts, the map was sent to the House redistricting committee the next day. The map has already passed the Senate.
In an interview Sunday with Inside Texas Politics, Jackson Lee said she will run “to represent the people of the 18th Congressional District.”
“Whatever the 18th Congressional District looks like, I will offer myself to be a servant to those individuals to those voters, and I’ll take my chances with the voters,” Jackson Lee said.
“This was purposeful racial gerrymandering, which is very shameful in 2021,” said Jackson Lee. “I am stunned, we are hurt, but we’re not giving up.”
Texas state Rep. Chris Turner, the Texas House Democratic Caucus chairman, said in a statement that Democrats will challenge the map in court.
“Make no mistake — this redistricting plan will undoubtedly land Texas in court once again, and the very Texans who have been denied fair representation will also be on the hook for the legal costs of defending this map,” Turner said.
“The consideration of redistricting priorities and objectives which guided the approach to redistricting included complying with all applicable law, including the Constitution, the Voting Rights Act … preserving the cores of existing districts, creating geographically compact districts, addressing partisan considerations, protecting incumbents, and when it is possible, honoring requests made by incumbent members,” said state Rep. Todd Hunter (R).