Commentary: Reagan Reed
Texas lawmakers are debating redistricting maps in Austin, and Montgomery County is on the chopping block. As the suburbs turn increasingly against Republicans, GOP leadership is looking to strip-mine the uber-red county and lump its conservative voters into Harris County districts. Spread across multiple districts, Montgomery County voters would find their voices greatly diminished.
Currently, Montgomery County is entirely within Congressional District 08. However, the new map would split the county in two: The Woodlands and East Montgomery County would be moved into Congressman Dan Crenshaw’s (R-TX) mostly Harris County District 02. Montgomery County would comprise only 44% of the population of the new CD-02. For the rest of Montgomery County that would remain in the rump CD-08, it would be even worse: CD-08 would be extended into western Harris County, making Montgomery County only 37% of the new CD-08’s population.
The proposed state senate maps are even worse, especially for the Magnolia community and western Montgomery County. Lawmakers want to cut right through the heart of Magnolia, putting the southern half of Magnolia in Senate District 7 with State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), and the north in Senate District 18 with State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham). The rest of Montgomery County would remain in Senate District 4, represented by State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe).
As Montgomery County faces this very serious threat to its voice and representation, a notice was sent out that the Montgomery County Republican Party (MCRP) will be holding a special meeting of its County Executive Committee (CEC) Wednesday night (October 6) to address urgent business. Any reasonable person could be forgiven for thinking that the purpose of the meeting would be to pass a resolution opposing the redistricting maps.
Incredibly, the agenda for the meeting shockingly doesn’t mention redistricting at all. Instead, the agenda mostly reads like a laundry list of petty personal grievance items by precinct chairs looking to score Pyrrhic victories in the MCRP’s internecine conflict which is on track to give the Hundred Year War between England and France a run for its money.
As it turns out, the urgent business being taken up by the CEC at the special meeting has nothing to do with what is actually the most urgent issue facing Montgomery County.
The meeting was called by a couple dozen precinct chairs at the behest of Magnolia area precinct chair Ginger Russell. Unsurprisingly, multiple agenda items relate to Russell’s crusade against Magnolia ISD’s International Baccalaureate program, which she has described as “Marxist” and “socialism”. There is even an agenda item to “Approve Ginger Russell as Co-Chair of the Education Committee.”
Now, I believe Mrs. Russell has raised some valid points regarding the IB program, although much of what she has claimed is likely overblown. The issue deserves thoughtful consideration. However, the issue of redistricting is far more urgent. There is no pending vote by the Magnolia ISD school board relating to the IB program anywhere on the horizon, so there is no reason why Russell’s resolution couldn’t wait until the next regularly scheduled CEC meeting.
There is also another resolution condemning the Republican Voters of Texas PAC. Now, I have my own personal opinions on this issue, but the bottom line is that the CEC has already passed multiple resolutions on this issue to the point of absurdity. The RVT is not going to change their name no matter how many resolutions are passed, and at this point the anti-RVT resolutions are an exercise in futility and a tremendous waste of time and energy, especially since there are more pressing matters at hand.
One of the few things on the agenda that is actually a worthwhile use of time is an item by precinct chair Adrian Kaiser to address several propositions to amend the Texas Constitution on the ballot this November. Kaiser wants the party to discuss the propositions and help educate voters about them. However, Kaiser told the Texas Citizen Journal that Russell would only allow him to discuss two of the propositions, because she didn’t want it to take too much time away from her items.
The fact that the CEC is planning to spend an evening squabbling over petty piffle paffle while Montgomery County faces such a grave threat from redistricting should absolutely outrage every Republican. To spend the whole meeting bickering and fail to pass a resolution opposing the redistricting plan would be gross incompetence and a complete dereliction of duty.
This should be a no-brainer. Every Republican in this county I have talked to is opposed to the proposed maps. It is an issue upon which both factions of the MCRP actually agree! For the good of the county, one would hope that the CEC could postpone the vendettas and feuds for just a little while to show a united front on this issue.
The CEC must come together tonight and pass a resolution opposing the redistricting plan and demanding that Montgomery County be properly represented. It is time for all Republican Precinct chairs, “tea party” and “establishment”, to unite around this common cause and stand up for their voters. The cost of division is just to great.
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