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Redistricting Spectre Looms In Midterm Election

Sept. 13, 2010

Listen to the audio | Full Interview

Ask voters what's most important to them in the upcoming election, and you're likely to hear things like the economy, jobs, taxes, or social issues. What you don't often hear is re-districting. But issues important to voters are shaped by the politicians and parties in power. And the politicians and parties in power can either find their jobs easier or harder based on re-districting. And with Texas re-districting upcoming in 2011 on the heels of this year's census, it's these midterms that determine who will shape the future of the Texas political map.

Dr. James Curry is a professor of political science at Baylor. His colleague, Dr. Thomas Myers specializes in Texas legislative matters. They say that redistricting filters down to a number of issues important to voters. And, of course, there's the districts themselves. Some may remember that Waco's district once included Fort Hood, until the re-apportionment moved Wacoans from District 11 to District 17, grouping McLennan County with places like Burleson and College Station instead of Bell County. The last re-districting provides a textbook example of how those in political power shape the reapportionment process. Dr. Myers looks back at 2000, and former Texas congressman Tom DeLay.

In fact, after that reapportionment, Representative Chet Edwards was the only Caucasian Democrat to hold his or her seat. On Thursday, we'll continue our look at re-districting and how it affects politics at the local level. The complete interview with Baylor professors James Curry and Thomas Myers can be found at kwbu.org. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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