Latino voters will have a greater voice in 2012 elections

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Today, Latino leaders throughout Texas responded to new court-ordered interim maps for Texas state House and congressional seats that increase the number of districts in which Latino voters can elect their preferred candidates.

The court-ordered congressional map maintains the existing Latino-majority districts and also creates two additional Latino opportunity districts – one in South/Central Texas and the second in the Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex.

The court-ordered state House map adds one additional Latino opportunity seat.

The Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force, a statewide coalition of Texas Latino organizations, responded to the new maps as follows:

“The court’s interim map creates two new Latino-majority Congressional districts as well as maintains all seven Latino-majority Congressional districts that were already present in the Texas. The court's map raises the number of Latino-majority Congressional districts from 7 to 9," stated Lydia Camarillo, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) Vice President and Co-Chair of the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force. “In the state House, the court's map gives the Latino community one new Latino-majority district for a total of 34 state house seats. We are pleased that the court restored House District 117 in San Antonio, but will continue to work for a second majority-Latino seat in Corpus Christi,” concluded Camarillo.

“The Mexican American Bar Association of Texas is primarily concerned with protecting the Hispanic electoral voice, and is pleased with the strides made on the Congressional map that increase Hispanic opportunity districts in Dallas-Ft. Worth and South/Central Texas. Hispanics' right to elect their candidate of choice is of utmost importance, regardless of the political affiliation of the candidate," said the Honorable Celeste Villarreal, President-Elect and Legislative Director, MABA-TX. “However, the court-drawn state House map fails to draw all the districts that Latinos deserve, particularly in Nueces County. The plan must meet the legal requirements to offer Latinos electoral opportunity and we will continue to work to achieve that end,” continued Villarreal.

“Texas LULAC applauds the combined efforts of the Latino Task Force in fostering an amicable conclusion to Texas redistricting with the State and other plaintiffs so that the citizens of Texas may exercise their right to vote for their candidate of choice,” stated Joe Cardenas III, Immediate Past State Director for Texas LULAC. “Although the membership and board of directors of Texas LULAC advocated that all 4 newly-created congressional districts should be Latino opportunity districts, Texas LULAC acknowledges the gains made by Latinos in the new statewide maps. These maps should remain in place for the decade so that the Texas Legislature can turn to the increasingly dire issue of public education for the sake of the children of Texas and the honorable profession of teaching,” continued Cardenas.

“We believe the Court decision on the Texas Congressional plan is a much more fair representation of the Latino growth in the state as compared to the State-enacted plan,” stated Domingo Garcia, former Dallas mayor pro-tem and Co-Chair of the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force. “We believe, however, that the State House map could do better and we will work to make improvements to that map.”

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund