Redistricting in South Texas: Sen. 'Chuy' Hinojosa responds about district changes

Staff Reports
Texas State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen) meets with colleagues on the second day of the 87th Texas legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 at the Texas State Capitol, in Austin, Texas.

The Texas Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 4 by Sen. Joan Huffman, which outlines the Texas Senate district boundaries that will be in place for the next decade.

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa,  who represents District 20, will continue to represent Hidalgo, Brooks, Jim Wells, and Nueces Counties, with some modifications.

"The Texas population grew by 4 million from 25,145,561 in 2010 to 29,145,505 in 2020. These additional 4 million residents have to be distributed evenly between 31 state senate districts," Hinojosa said. "What's more, regions of the state grew unevenly with most of the growth taking place in Houston, Dallas-Forth Worth, the San Antonio-Austin corridor, and the Rio Grande Valley (RGV).

"While the RGV grew by over 12 percent with more than 100,000 people in 10 years, Nueces County grew by 3.8 percent or nearly 13,000 residents," he explained." However, the population growth in other areas of the state was much larger.

"Due to these population increases across the state, the ideal population for each state senate district increased from 811,147 to 940,178, an increase of 129,031. That meant my senate district, Senate District 20, was under 3.5 percent or 32,504 residents from the ideal population."  

Texas state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa looks at maps on display prior to a Senate Redistricting committee hearing, in Austin, Texas.

"Redistricting is a difficult process. I would rather have kept Nueces County whole and not made any changes to my current senate district. However, given the population increases across the state and in the South Texas region, changes had to be made. Senate District 27, represented by Senator Eddie Lucio, was under 11.5 percent or 108,504 residents from the ideal population. Since SD 20 surrounds SD 27, adjustments were needed to comply with the Texas Constitution and the Voting Rights Act."  

"As passed by the Texas Senate, Hidalgo County remains split. All of Brooks and Jim Wells Counties remain in SD 20. In Nueces County, 81 percent of the population remains in SD 20, and 19 percent shifts to SD 27 to comply with the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution," Hinojosa said. "This change was not my preference but was necessary to comply with the redistricting requirements. The key institutions in Corpus Christi remained in my senate district including the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Del Mar College, Texas State Aquarium, Nueces County Courthouse, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, downtown, and others."