Mr. Chairman, Members of the Select Committee, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:
My name is Chuck Meyer, I am from Lumberton, in Hardin County. I am a lawyer with business and property interests in The Woodlands, Lumberton and Harris County.
I am representing myself today, although I come here with a unique perspective, having been a candidate in 2010 for Congress in the 18th Congressional District, as an independent, write-in candidate, and in 2012 in the race for the Republican nomination for 36th Congressional District, a seat that is occupied by Congressman Steve Stockman. I am intimately familiar with the maps as they relate to Congressional races, particularly the map for CD 36. I am tempted to ask that Congresswoman Jackson Lee and Congressman Stockman to be put into the same district, but in all seriousness, that is not why I am here today.
Even though I am a reformist who shares many of the beliefs as represented by the statement today by the representative of Harris County League of Women Voters, particularly with regard to not protecting incumbents through re-districting, and while I detest many of the problems with the gerrymandering that has resulted in the creation of a District 36th that has combined very different 8 small counties that have little in common with a substantial piece of Southeast Harris County, a piece that comprises well over forty percent of the voters in that district, I reluctantly speak today in favor of all 4 SBs.
Why, when I am decidedly unhappy with all of the court-drawn maps and when I agree wholeheartedly with the witness, Ms. Owens and others that communities should not be separated, would I urge you to adopt court-drawn maps that are flawed from this reformist’s perspective? One reason – I want the State stop spending money needlessly. I want the State to minimize the amount of money that it will have to spend to provide the electorate with a set of maps that comports with the law for this next election cycle, and then use the money saved to work diligently to provide an improved set of maps for use in 2016 and beyond. Let no one leave today without understanding that there is a high probability that at least some part of Section 5 will be thrown out by the Supreme Court, not as a result of case brought by the attorney general, but rather in the case out of Shelby County, Alabama. Who knows how, if at all, that case will impact re-districting? But until we know that decision, why bother even attempting to change the maps at this point in time, and risk delaying elections needlessly, again costing our State and counties money, needlessly. It is inefficient and a waste of time and money until we know the legal landscape. Adopt the interim maps for the next election cycle, and then take on board the information you have received through these hearings, and after the Supreme Court delivers its decision in the Shelby county case, begin another special session if need be, working on maps for 2016. As others have expressed, I want you to do your job and address the concerns of the people. I just want you to do it efficiently, and save both time and money.