Oct 12, 2022 - News

LULAC fighting for Latino representation in Houston

Illustration of Houston City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Houston lacks Latino representation on City Council, and the city’s League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) hopes a new ballot initiative next November can fix that.

Driving the news: The new district maps City Council is slated to approve today might create the opportunity for a second Latino representative, but LULAC National President Domingo Garcia tells Axios that’s not enough.

The big picture: The city is 44% Hispanic, yet Houston's 16-person council has only one Latino member.

  • "That's not equity and that's not fairness. It's a map to protect incumbents, not to reflect the diversity of Houston,” Garcia says of the new council district boundaries.

Context: Houston is the only major Texas city with at-large council members, and LULAC believes eliminating those in exchange for more district members would help increase Latino representation.

Yes, but: The city is bound by charter to have five at-large representatives. The only way to change that is through a voter-approved referendum.

What's happening: When early voting starts Oct. 24, LULAC volunteers will begin gathering the 20,000 signatures needed to place a referendum on the ballot amending the city charter.

  • City Council can also vote to place the referendum on the ballot, but LULAC officials told the Houston Chronicle in January that doesn't seem likely.

Also: LULAC plans to file a lawsuit challenging at-large positions sometime in November as another avenue to get the city charter amended.

  • "We think that's our best option at increasing Latino representation in Houston," Garcia says.
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