Editorial

16 August 2021

Capitol Update: What Redistricting Means for Rural Texans

For most East Texas school districts, a new school year has either just begun or is about to. Last year was as trying as any in recent history, particularly for our school teachers, faculty, and administrators. They deserve our utmost respect and appreciation, as they have worked tirelessly over the summer to prepare for our children to return to the classroom. Please don’t forget to thank our educators and administrators for all they do to prepare our students for a bright future.

For students, the beginning of a school year brings countless opportunities in and out of the classroom. I still fondly recall those first few days of a new school year and the excitement in the air. With so much going on in the world right now, please pray for our students and educators.

With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…

Capitol Update

On August 12, the U.S. Census Bureau released the granular population data that they have been compiling since March 2020. And while much has been made of the items Governor Abbott listed on the special session agendas, this new announcement from the Census Bureau leads the way for a new item to be on the agenda at some point in the near future—redistricting. This process, by which state legislatures redraw political boundaries, is required by the U.S. Constitution once every ten years.

As you might imagine, the data tell us that we have experienced significant growth in Texas over the last decade. So much, in fact, that the number of people served per congressional and legislative districts will expand significantly. For example, in the Texas House, each district will grow by about 30,000 people. Further, Texas is the only state in the union to gain two additional seats in the U.S. Congress. Growth of this magnitude can be explained by our unique culture, the friendly business environment fostered here, the lack of a state income tax, our thriving public schools, and much more.

As with anything, though, the devil is in the details. When you take a closer look at the population data, Texas’ growth is largely taking place in urban and suburban areas. This means that stagnant or shrinking population numbers in rural Texas will affect the number of rural representatives in the Legislature. Make no mistake though, as with each issue that pits urban interests and values against those of rural Texans, I will work with other members of the East Texas delegation to ensure our voices are not drowned out by those in the urban centers.

The new information providing a demographic snapshot of Texas’ growing population and can be accessed by visiting https://www.census.gov/ or https://redistricting.capitol.texas.gov/.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.

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