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State, LULAC submit ideas for new Texas congressional map

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/T/TX_REDISTRICTING_TXOL-?SITE=TXELP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT Jul 14, 12:18 PM EDT State, LULAC submit ideas for new
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14, 2006
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      Jul 14, 12:18 PM EDT

      State, LULAC submit ideas for new Texas congressional

      Associated Press Writer

      AUSTIN (AP) -- Texas Republicans proposed Friday a
      congressional map that puts Laredo back into the same
      district, creating a new, vast West Texas district.

      If U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo,
      chooses to run in his home county, he would take over
      the district now represented by Republican Henry

      The Supreme Court ruled that district unconstitutional
      because it split Laredo in two, diluting the voting
      strength of the city that is 94 percent Hispanic.

      The state's plan is one of several being submitted to
      a three-judge federal panel by Friday's deadline. The
      panel must determine what congressional voting lines
      will be used in November's election.

      Cuellar, would be placed in a district that stretches
      from the eastern edge of El Paso through West Texas,
      curves around San Antonio's southern edge and heads
      south to Laredo.

      The state's plan would create a new 23rd District from
      Blanco, Kendall and Kerr County, allowing Bonilla to
      run in a district centered in the conservative Hill

      Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz said the state's plan
      "would correct the Supreme Court's legal concerns
      regarding district 23, and otherwise fully respect the
      legislative preferences of the already enacted
      congressional map."

      Cruz noted that 28 congressional districts were left
      unaltered, tinkering only with the 23rd District and
      three adjoining ones.

      The federal panel has scheduled oral arguments for
      Aug. 3 in Austin.

      The League of United Latin American Citizens proposed
      to make seven of the state's 32 congressional
      districts majority Hispanic, including the
      unconstitutional West Texas district.

      Both LULAC proposals would put the city of Laredo back
      into one congressional district: One proposal puts it
      in the 23rd, represented now by Bonilla; the other
      would put it in the 28th Congressional District, now

      Putting all of Laredo back into the 23rd district
      could pit Bonilla against Cuellar, who is from Laredo.

      The state, the Mexican American Legal Defense and
      Educational Fund and other Democratic and minority
      right's activists were expected to submit their maps
      on Friday.

      A MALDEF attorney said its proposed map did not tackle
      politics, though the redistricting process is
      traditionally one of the most politically charged
      issues lawmakers take up.

      "Our map was aimed at meeting the mandate of the
      Supreme Court, thereby protecting the rights of
      Latinos, not protecting any political party or any
      political calculations," said MALDEF attorney Luis
      Figueroa. "We were focused on ... protecting those
      Latinos whose rights were infringed by the previous

      The high court did not set a deadline for a new map,
      but changes would have to be made soon to be effective
      in the November general election.

      The GOP-controlled Legislature redrew the map in 2003
      to put more Republicans in office.

      Democrats and minority groups sued the state, accusing
      Republicans of an unconstitutional power grab in
      drawing boundaries that booted four Democrats from
      office. The district boundaries were effective for the
      2004 congressional elections.

      Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office
      defended the state before the court, argued that the
      redrawn boundaries reflect the preferences of Texas
      voters. Abbott spokeswoman Angela Hale said the office
      would submit a proposed substitute on Friday, but
      would not comment on it.


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