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How redistricting will affect West Texas voters

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas lawmakers are laying out a plan that will shape the political landscape over the next ten years. It’s part of the redistricting process, a top priority for this special legislative session, a process that could change who will represent you in Austin.

On Thursday, lawmakers published the first proposed House district map, showing changes big and small.

“You have to picture this, it’s sort of like a balloon. You push in on one area, another area goes out. We’re trying to adjust all the 29 million people in Texas, into 150 districts,” Rep. John Frullo (TX-84) explained.

The changes may look small, but they could have a large impact.

In the new map, District 83, represented by Dustin Burrows (TX-83), appears to gain five counties: Floyd, Crosby, Dickens, Kent and Garza.

But at the same time, it loses Gaines County on the state border line to District 88, currently represented by Rep. Ken King.

Population-wise, it’s about the same as 2019, but for the neighboring District 84: “We needed to pick up about 10,000 people and we picked up 30,000 people. I’m kind of wondering why that happened,” Rep. Frullo said.

Frullo, who currently holds that seat, believes certain decisions don’t appear to have “optimized” things for voters.

“Bottom line is, is it going to be good for Lubbock? And right now I’m not convinced that’s the case,” Frullo said.

District 84 picks up parts of places north of the Hub City, like New Deal and Abernathy, while losing some areas to the south.

It also gains two precincts within Central Lubbock previously held by District 83:15 and 16, which represent the areas from 19th to 50th between Indiana and University.

This area contains Tech Terrace, a more left-leaning community than other parts of the city.

Those districts voted majority blue or evenly split the 2020 presidential election and overwhelmingly voted against the sanctuary city for the unborn ordinance in May (source: votelubbock.org).

It’s unclear how much of an impact those voters could have on the next election cycle.

When asked by KCBD if he is concerned about re-election chances with this small but possibly significant change, Frullo said:

“We’re not in that depth right now. What I’ll have to do is analyze to see what is happening, but you’re absolutely right, you’re on the right track and that’s what we’ll spend time on over the next week, two weeks, as it goes through the process.”

The new area also adds precinct 24 but stops short from 50th to the loop, keeping precincts 28, 118 and 122 within District 83.

Currently, the district mostly contains areas outside of the city, but does include a small...
Currently, the district mostly contains areas outside of the city, but does include a small sliver from 19th to South Lubbock, between Indiana and University Avenues. The new map shows 15, 16 and 24 in District 84.(Lubbock County Elections Office (votelubbock.org))

“Why not just take in that whole area if you’re going do that, instead of going all outside the city? Some of those questions will get answered, some of them we won’t know,” Frullo said.

It could take some time, with upcoming discussions, committee meetings, and house floor hearings, before this redistricting map becomes permanent.

It hasn’t come without criticism, either.

House Democrats were quick to call out the plans, saying they disenfranchise minority voters, who made up a majority of Texas’ latest population boom.

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