Lines in the Sand

Austin Legislators Prepare to Redraw Their Own Districts -- While Doing Business as Usual

Lines in the Sand
Photo By John Anderson

Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Round Rock

House District 52 (Round Rock)

Capitol Office: E2.204

Capitol Phone: 512/463-0670

District Address: 316 North Main Street, Taylor TX 76574

District Phone: 512/365-8341

Asked what's at the top of his legislative agenda for this session, Mike Krusee pulls no punches. "Fair redistricting across the state of Texas," he said. "Travis County is gerrymandered on behalf of Democrats. It's still a Democratic County, but not by 80%. It's only 80% because they've packed all the Republicans into Terry Keel's districts. I want to see fair districts. We don't have a Democratic House, because of conservative Democrats like Pete Laney and Rob Junell. We're still living with the gerrymandering that was done in 1991."

Krusee said Republicans routinely win 58 to 60% of the aggregate votes in legislative races, so if district lines were fairly drawn, as he sees it, Republicans would control 58 to 60% of the state's legislative seats. Asked if a bill that turned the House over to the Republicans is likely to pass in the Democratic House, Krusee suggested that the odds are stacked against the Democrats. "We have a Republican Senate, a Republican governor, and a Republican legislative redistricting board. It may not come out of the House in a fair form, but whatever we get will be addressed by the governor."

Krusee said he will also work on mobility issues, and push for a plan (either at the Legislature or at Capital Metro) to determine what becomes of the quarter-cent sales tax Capital Metro has been collecting and planning to use on light rail. "We should give people the vote to either rescind the tax, or spend the quarter cent on mobility. And we need to decide when to vote again on light rail." Krusee said light rail should be put on the ballot in a general election in November, and "not when Capital Metro can get its constituency out. A November election provides an even playing field for everyone."

Krusee also said he will file a voucher bill, to move money from public education to private schools. But, he said, "I don't expect it to pass."

Krusee was elected to the House in 1993 and has thus far filed no bills this session.

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