LANDGRAF: West Texas will be heard

By State Rep. Brooks Landgraf

On September 20th, legislators from across the state and I reconvened at the Texas Capitol to get back to work for the start of the year’s third “overtime” special legislative session to take up a list of important policy items for the people of Texas.

In Texas, a special session may only be called by the governor, and only issues put on the agenda by the governor may be addressed. Under the Texas Constitution, a special session of the Legislature can last no longer than 30 days.

For this current special session, Governor Abbott has placed five items on the agenda including distribution of federal COVID relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, legislation to address mask and vaccine mandates, and redistricting.

Redistricting is a constitutional duty that the Legislature must take up each decade. Redistricting is the process of redrawing the district boundaries for the Texas State House, State Senate, Congress, and State Board of Education. This process to evenly distribute populations among districts is guided by the U.S. Census data and is necessary for ensuring uniform representation across the state and country.

Texas is growing faster than most states in the country, reaffirming the undeniable success of our principles of liberty and limited government. Since 2010, the population of Texas grew by nearly 4 million putting the total population of our state at almost 30 million people. Due to this extraordinary increase in population, Texas is gaining two new congressional seats.

While West Texas saw some significant population growth, it was outpaced by the population growth in urban and suburban areas of the state. This presents a significant challenge for our region to retain the number of state legislators and members of congress we have today. While it’ll be a difficult battle, it is one I am ready to take on.

Earlier this year, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) appointed me to the House Redistricting Committee. I am honored by this appointment which places me on the frontline of the redistricting process. The committee is charged with creating the maps that will ultimately be submitted to the Texas House of Representative for a vote. Throughout the year, the committee has held multiple hearings and received input from Texans all across the state.

You have my word that as the Texas Legislature works to redraw maps that will be in effect for the next decade, I will make sure the interests of our community remain protected. I will fight relentlessly under the Constitution and our laws to ensure that the voice of West Texas will be heard and be fully represented.

God bless Texas!