Pete Gallego is the great Democratic hope on the horizon of a dismal redistricting effort on behalf of the Republicans. The 23rd congressional district in Texas is ranked 8th, in terms of the size of the district, in the United States. It extends along the southwestern part of Texas that borders Mexico, and is a Latino-majority district that managed to get a Republican Latino in office. Currently, Quico Canseco is in the House of Representatives but Pete Gallego is going to give him a run for his money.

Up until 1993, Democrats held this district, while the Republicans sought control of it for a long time. During the redistricting in 2003, the Texas legislature put Laredo in the 28th District, and added suburbs of San Antonio that are heavily Republican in nature. This ensured Republican Henry Bonilla a 7th term. Republicans are tenacious in their desire to take over and will stop short of nothing to get what they want, such as prohibiting gay marriage.

Things got sticky in 2006 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the 23rd District was in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The district had a Hispanic majority that was protected, and could not be redrawn to shift those numbers. Boundaries were changed again, and ultimately, Democrat Ciro Rodriguez took over the 23rd District after a runoff election against Bonilla. Once again, middle class people, Latinos and the LGBT community had adequate representation.

Now, Republican Quico Canseco has taken over the 23rd District, focusing on his Latino background to gain votes. Certainly the Latino population can see that the Republican agenda is not going to serve the needs of people struggling to earn a living and gain equal rights. This makes Democrat Pete Gallego a viable candidate to take over this district in the 2012 election. He stands strong for the Latino community and their right to vote.

National groups, such as Voto Latino, cite the efforts being made to silence this population from voting. Pete Gallego is a good advocate for Latino rights. Previously, he served the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) in the Texas House of Representatives as chairman. He also serves on the board for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO). From 1995 to 2001, Gallego was the first member of an ethnic minority to be elected to the post of Chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus.

Clearly, this is a man who can move mountains. A powerful Democrat such as Pete Gallego could make a major difference for Latinos, women and the LGBT community in an underrepresented state such as Texas.

Pete Gallego, Redistricting and Regaining a Republican District

JLegare


Amateur writer, pianist, denizen of Houston and part-time GLBT activist


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