Press Release

ICYMI: Texas Congressional Democrats Join State Legislative Caucus Leaders for Press Conference Urging Senate Passage of John Lewis Act

TEXAS/Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, Oct. 26, Texas Congressional Democrats joined state legislative caucus leaders for a press conference to urge the U.S. Senate to immediately pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Click here to view a recording of the event.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has announced his intention to bring up the John Lewis Act for a vote as soon as this week. Yesterday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s new redistricting maps, which experts and elected officials alike have decried as discriminatory and unrepresentative of Texas’ minority population growth.

With the passage of these maps, the members of Congress and state representatives argued during the press conference, Texas needs the John Lewis Act as soon as possible.

“These new maps work hand in hand with all of the increased voter restrictions passed by Texas Republicans earlier in the year that undermine the freedom to vote. … That’s why we need the John Lewis Act in Texas now more than ever,” said Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner (HD 101). “The Freedom to Vote Act, also pending before the U.S. Senate, is very important, but it does not provide the state-level redistricting protections that Texas so desperately needs.”

“Since the Voting Rights Act was gutted in 2013, you have seen a consistent increase in the number of these laws that southern state legislatures are trying to pass to make it harder for people to vote,” said Congressman Marc Veasey (TX 33). “We need to have fair and equal representation so we’re not subject to the whims and political priorities of any party.”

“I’m no mathematician, but a state that experiences 95% of its growth from (communities of color) … should see an increase in representation. But we didn’t see that — we saw a decrease,” said Texas Legislative Black Caucus Chair Nicole Collier (HD 95). “We can’t protect our democracy if we don’t end the filibuster and pass the John Lewis Act in the Senate.”

“All the focus in Washington is on ‘Build Back Better,’ and we do need to complete (that) … but it is day by day growing late in dealing with the fundamental question of whether we’re going to build back and maintain our democracy,” said Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX 35). “We need the president to fully engage with those senators who have been resistant to making an exception (to the filibuster).”

“It might as well be 1963 for all that we have gone through this year,” said Texas Legislative Study Group Chair Garnet Coleman (HD 147). “The very reason we had the Voting Rights Act (of 1965) to begin with is what’s going on right now: districts that are being drawn to not represent the growth in communities of color and provisions in law that actually suppress the vote of communities of color.”

“Texas, which I love dearly, has been on the wrong side of voting rights for many years,” said Congressman and Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation Dean Al Green (TX 9). “The Senate has got to understand that this will make a difference not only in terms of who’s represented in Congress, but in terms of how resources are accorded people by virtue of the representation they have.”

“This piece of legislation is vital to protecting the freedom of Texans to vote, and every person across the country,” said Mexican American Legislative Caucus Vice Chair Mary Gonzalez (HD 75). “We will not stop fighting for fair maps. We will take this fight to the courts and do everything in our power to make democracy a reality for all.”

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