Redistricting Advisory Commission presents maps to commissioners court
During Tuesday’s commissioners court meeting the Hays County Redistricting Advisory Commission (RAC) presented the court with proposals for the commissioner’s precincts.
Throughout October, the RAC held work sessions and public community meetings while going through the process of redistricting.
“There was a lot of effort put in to come together to propose maps,” said Mark Trahan, Hays County Democratic Party Chair.
According to an analysis of the county population, there was a need to move some of the population from precinct 2 to precinct 3 due to overpopulation. Trahan further presented that minority populations have increased throughout the county and that the RAC was advised to protect precinct 1 as a Hispanic majority-minority precinct.
“As we considered mapping, we developed a strategy of talking to community partners, evaluating the past history of representation in precinct 1 and looking at the Hispanic growth along the I-35 corridor to determine how to produce a map that represents changes in these demographics,” Trahan said.
An M9 map was presented to the court with characteristics such as two majority-minority Hispanic precincts in 1 and 2 in accordance with U.S. Census data and population changes. The boundaries on the map are based on “clean rational lines” such as rivers and creeks.
“Existing communities of interest are kept together to the greatest degree possible such as the Hispanic communities east of I-35, high growth areas of Buda and Dripping Springs and Texas State University and non-gerrymandered compact precincts drawn to keep geographical neighbors together, ” Trahan said.
The map also reduces the Kyle area commissioners from 3 to 2. According to Trahan, the Kyle and Buda populations could not be kept together due to rapid population growth.
“We believe this is more effective and helpful to city governance, to develop a relationship with their commissioners to bring forth infrastructure and development needs,” Trahan said.
After the presentation from Trahan, commissioners had the opportunity to provide their input.
“I think there are some very good things on this map, there’s just some considerations that I probably would want to look at more closely but I appreciate the work that y'all have done,” said Commissioner Walt Smith.
To present the second map, Bob Parks, chair of the Hays County Republi can Party spoke to the court before introducing RAC member Steve Meyer.
“I urge the commissioners, as you, as you do this deliberation to certainly look at the numbers, look at the percentages but don’t get too bogged down in just pure percentages,” Parks said. “Look at the nature of this county and the nature of the people in the county and the nature of the people that are moving to this county and let’s be realistic about this population in this county so that as we put our precincts together, we put them together in a way that truly does not discriminate against one group over another.”
Both maps presented recommend placing Buda in precinct 4 while also breaking Kyle down into three precincts.
“To lose 13,000 people out of my precinct is really, really hard,” Commissioner Mark Jones said. “As most of y'all know, I’ve got deep roots in both Buda and Kyle. I’ve always thought of myself as representing those two areas and so this is, both of these maps are hard to take.”
While drawing up the S2 map, RAC members tried to create a situation in which two commissioner precincts were largely minority represented and provided the opportunity for collective representation of municipalities.
“Yes we did put the universities together because we looked at several things, not just the location of the university, not just the fact that it was concentrated within San Marcos largely as we collected it, but also the age group,” Meyer said.
Meyer further pointed out that both maps presented to the court were quite similar and managed to stay that way throughout the redistricting process with the exception of a few small details.
“I really appreciate the many hours that y'all put into this, League of Women Voters was also mentioned, I know that they’ve stepped up in a big way and have been involved but especially our public that were able to participate,” Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe said.
After the presentations, no actions were taken by the court. To view the full presentation and meeting, visit hayscountytx.com/commissioners-court/court-video/.