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Aliseda loses home court
by Gary Kent
Nov 23, 2011 | 1960 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Rep. José Aliseda
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BEEVILLE — District 35 State Rep. José Aliseda has filed a declaration with the United States District Court objecting to a redistricting plan that separates Live Oak County from Bee County and places that county in a district composed mostly of counties to the south.

Aliseda said he filed the declaration with the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division.

“I have reviewed Plans H298 and H299 and appreciate the court’s maintenance of Bee, Karnes, Atascosa, McMullen and La Salle counties as the core of a state representative district as they share many common interests, economically, culturally and geographically,” Aliseda said in a communication to the court.

“However, I object to the omission of Live Oak County from this core district,” he added.

“Live Oak has continuously been in a state representative district with Atascosa, Bee or Karnes counties for over three decades (1976-2011),” Aliseda said. “Live Oak County has a shared community of interest with the above counties as the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas development in South Texas. Most residents of Live Oak County work, go to school and attend church in either Bee, Karnes or Atascosa counties.”

Two plans are now being considered for approval for the court and both of them would put Live Oak in a district with counties to the south and with coastal area counties to the east.

H298 would place Live Oak in a nine-county district along with Jim Wells, Duval, Brooks, Jim Hogg, Kenedy, Willacy, San Patricio and Refugio counties, known as House District 43.

“Right now it looks like 298 (the federal court proposed plan) or a very similar version of it will be the final district,” Aliseda said.

“What is happening to me is called pairing,” Aliseda said. “I am your state representative until Jan. 1, 2013. If I want to represent the new district again, I would have to declare that I am filing for the 2013 District 80 representative, where I now live.”

H298 puts Bee County in District 80, another nine-county district that would include Karnes, Atascosa, McMullen, La Salle, Frio, Dimmit, Zapata and Uvalde counties.

Currently that district is represented by Tracy O. King, a Democrat of Uvalde.

King was in Bee County Tuesday meeting residents and expressing his intent to run for re-election to the district in 2012.

“I’ve been there a long time,” King said Tuesday. “José and I get along fine.”

Aliseda already has announced that he will not seek re-election to the Texas House next year and will, instead, seek the office of district attorney for Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties.

Each of those counties now is included in the current District 35, that Aliseda represents. The current district also includes Karnes, Goliad, Atascosa and Jim Wells counties.

“It is disappointing to me that the federal judges have chosen to disregard traditional communities of interest,” Aliseda said. Those concerns normally are considered to be standard for redistricting.

The incumbent said the judges have instead chosen “race, party affiliation and ethnic origin as the priority for drawing their maps. That has had the effect of linking us with counties far west of us which have no traditional links to our area. The good thing is that the proposed district is over two-thirds, population wise, composed of the old District 35.”

“I’m excited about it.” King said of the new district lines. “I am thinking it will be a great district and a great fit for me. I’m looking forward to it.”

King said he has some knowledge of the area but he intends to spend more time here in the future.

On Tuesday, King was accompanied by John and Wil Galloway as he made the rounds meeting local residents.

“I have already received a number of calls from Bee County residents who have asked me to come down and visit with them,” King said. “I am looking forward to being there a lot more.”

The 15-year veteran of the Texas House said his personality will benefit Bee County’s rural interests.

“I have always had a good working relationship with cattle raisers and farm bureaus,” he said.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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