Republican State Rep. Aaron Peña allegedly lied about his involvement in redistricting along the Rio Grande Valley (the border for non-Texans), according to a report from the Texas Democratic Party. Here’s an excerpt from the report:
In April, during floor debate on the state house redistricting proposal, Republican State Representative and member of the House Committee on Redistricting Aaron Pena emphatically and repeatedly stated that he had no role in drawing the actual lines for the controversial district that was created for him in Hidalgo County.
During last week’s redistricting trial, Ryan Downton, the House Redistricting Committee Counsel, testified in open court that he worked with Representative Pena on the district lines after the first draft of the map was released. He then went on to say that Pena would identify specific neighborhoods that he believed were favorable to him so that Downton would include those in his district.
If you recall, Peña switched parties late last year, giving Republicans in Texas just the edge they needed to be able to take ideological issues like abortion and voter ID to the legislature and pop out some harsh new laws.
That Peña was supposedly lying about his involvement in redistricting — which was wrong in a whole slew of ways, including edging out Latino and African-American voters (which we’ll be updating you on this week) — is important because it means there is a lot more going on than he or others have let on (which, again, is something we’ll talk about in our post-redistricting lawsuit coverage).
The report goes on with some partisan bashing of Peña, about how he may have lied about living in his district, and how disappointed Democratic Party leaders are in his behavior. Like I said, our previous redistricting trial coverage here, here and here, fits into this whole equation, and we’ll be letting you know more about the trial and the potential outcome later in the week.[Photo By Texas House]