Texas' new map endangers two long-term Black members of Congress: report

Two Black leaders in Congress face off against each other in a 2022 primary under a new map of congressional districts proposed by Texas Republicans.

"A new Texas congressional map shreds Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's Houston-based district, siphoning off thousands of her Black constituents and forcing her into a potential primary against her neighboring Black incumbent, Rep. Al Green," The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Jackson Lee has served in Congress for over a quarter-century, after successfully beating Rep. Craig Washington (D-TX) in a 1994 primary. Green was elected a decade later, during the 2004 election.

"Jackson Lee, 71, is the second-longest-serving member in the Texas delegation, having represented the state's 18th District for nearly three decades. Since it was won by Barbara Jordan in 1972, the first Black woman to represent the state, the boundaries have largely remained the same," the newspaper reported. "But now, Texas Republicans in charge of redistricting have advanced a map that would remove downtown Houston, with Jackson Lee's main district office, two universities and the predominantly Black Third Ward neighborhood, long considered the center of Black life in Houston, from the 18th District."

Both Jackson Lee and Green are members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and the Medicare for All Caucus.

Jackson Lee blasted the proposal.

"There was absolutely no response; this was purposeful racial gerrymandering, which is very shameful in 2021," Jackson Lee said. "I am stunned, we are hurt, but we're not giving up."

Green described his heartache.

"I'm very hurt," Green told the newspaper. "I've lived long enough to see change and progress; this is a retrogression, it takes us back to a time when persons who had the authority could abuse that authority with impunity, I just hope that this is not just the case."

The map has already passed the Texas state Senate.