Blanco’s effort to thwart GOP redistricting map that separates El Paso, Fort Bliss fails
AUSTIN, Texas — Debate was underway at the statehouse Friday on a proposed state congressional map from Texas Republicans, which alters El Paso’s two congressional districts.
The proposed map would shift Fort Bliss and the El Paso International Airport from Congressional District 16 to the 23rd Congressional District.
Both sites are currently represented by Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D – El Paso), but the proposed map would have Congressman Tony Gonzales (R – San Antonio) represent the areas.
On Friday, the proposed congressional maps advanced to the state Senate Floor. Texas Sen. Cesar Blanco (D- El Paso) made his case to keep Fort Bliss represented by Escobar.
Blanco stated that Fort Bliss and El Paso are intertwined.
He also maintained that El Paso has heavily invested in Fort Bliss’ infrastructure. He noted that the proposed map would be trading a representative that lives 5 miles from Fort Bliss and the El Paso International Airport for a representative who lives 550 miles away.
Blanco added that El Paso and Fort Bliss “need to be kept together to ensure that we have cohesive and effective representation…. the future of El Paso is really tied to the future of Fort Bliss.”
However, Blanco’s amendment was voted down 18-13.
State Sen. Joan Huffman (R – Harris County) stated that with the proposed redistricting plans Fort Bliss would be represented by Congressman Tony Gonzales, who is already representing a portion of El Paso County.
Huffman also contended that Gonzales would protect Fort Bliss’ interests because he is a veteran.
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