Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Changes Do Not Merit Hispanic District

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Changes Do Not Merit Hispanic District

Article excerpt

Although Oklahoma City has gained a considerable number of Hispanic residents over the last 10 years, the change was not sufficient to merit creation of a state House district with a Hispanic majority, lawmakers were told Monday.

Rep. Dan Webb, R-Oklahoma City, said the subcommittee he chairs looked carefully at House District 89, represented by Rep. Charles Gray, D-Oklahoma City, and House District 93, currently held by Rep. Al Lindley, D-Oklahoma City.

These areas of near-southwestern Oklahoma City have seen a burgeoning in Hispanic population since the 1990 census.

However, Webb said that even re-drawing District 89 at the block level produced only a 44 percent Hispanic population. If only voting- age population is considered, he said, the percentage is considerably less than that.

"We concluded that we could not draw a Hispanic district," Webb said, adding that Hispanic residents will be able to participate in the electoral process at about the same percentage level as now.

Webb also said that overall the subcommittee's deviation across 21 districts was less than 1 percent. This included picking up a district from the northeastern quadrant of the state.

Stressing maintaining at least 50 percent of existing district cores, Webb said that House Districts 97 and 99 remain what are termed "majority-minority" districts, in their cases mainly African- American. The two districts, represented by Rep. Kevin Cox and Rep. Opio Toure, both D-Oklahoma City, both increased in the number of black residents they contain, Webb said, but their percentages remained about the same.

"We materially didn't alter those seats," he added.

Major changes elsewhere in the state include dissolving House District 38, currently represented by Rep. Jim Reese, R-Nardin, at the north-central border of the state, and picking up a new district with that same number immediately to the southeast of Tulsa. …

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