Lawmaker's proposal would create 'Asian opportunity district' in Fort Bend County
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The latest census numbers show a booming population growth in Fort Bend County, especially among minorities. But many minorities remain unrepresented in political circles. A proposal from a state representative would change that.
Sugar Land City Council has two Indo-American members. Neighboring Missouri City has a Vietnamese and a South Asian on council. Still, some say the Asian community needs its own congressional district in Fort Bend County.
More than 95 percent of people who moved to Fort Bend County in the last 10 years are minorities. A significant number are Asian.
"Fort Bend County is the most diverse county in the country and the city of Sugar Land ... is the most diverse city in the state," Sugar Land Councilman Harish Jajoo said.
One state lawmaker, Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, is pushing for an Asian Opportunity District in Fort Bend County. It essentially calls for the re-drawing voting lines, based on where people live.
"It's sort of like, you have five friends and they all vote the same. And if you put them in five different districts, their votes don't mean anything; but if you put them all together in one district, their votes could mean something and that's what we're trying to do with this," said Jose Garza with the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.
Fischer's plan was rejected by his colleagues. Now he and others are suing the state, claiming minorities are "underrepresented" and voting strength is "diminished" based on the "discriminatory" way lines are drawn now.
"In Fort Bend County in particular, there's really no need for an opportunity district," former Sugar Land Councilwoman Jacquie Baly said.
Baly, like Jajoo, says Asians in Sugar Land will continue getting elected without minority opportunity districts.
"I think what we're seeing at the local level, with the Asians getting involved and getting elected on council, you're going to start seeing that continue to grow, and it's gonna happen at the county level and the state level easily," Baly said.
"It is important that different viewpoints are represented," said Doctor Sonal Bhuchar, who served Fort Bend County as a school board member.
Bhuchar sees the benefit of an Asian opportunity district for candidates and for constituents.
"If you have a district that is so ethnically diverse, then in order to bring those people to the table to engage in the process -- if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes," Bhuchar said.
This matter is far from over. The complaint was filed last Friday.
By the way, it also addresses the need for more opportunity districts for Latinos and African Americans across Texas. But this is the only mention of a specific Asian opportunity district.
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