Inside East Texas: “State of America: Political Perspective”

2004 has already shaped up to be an extraordinary year when it comes to both national and state politics. 2004 is a presidential election year, which always brings more interest and voters to the polls. Some of the national platform issues are the state of the U.S. economy, the on-going situation in Iraq, and the continued concerns about terrorism and our nation's security.

Perhaps, the biggest political issue facing Texas right now is the fight over redistricting. A panel of three federal judges in Austin recently voted two-to-one to approve the new redistricting map that was passed by the state legislature last year. That plan could change the political landscape of our state when it comes to representation in Congress. Currently, Democrats hold 17 of Texas' 32 seats in the U.S. House. But under the new redistricting map, Republicans could end up with as many as two dozen of those 32 seats.

Congressman Jim Turner of Crockett sat down with Inside East Texas host Jay Williams to explore those issues. The interview covered questions about the economy, the overhaul of the Medicare system, national security, and redistricting.

Congressman Turner is one of the Democrats directly affected by the new redistricting plan. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 and is currently serving his fourth term in Washington. He is the ranking member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security and also serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

In January, Turner announced that he will not seek re-election. The new re-districting plan changed his East Texas district significantly. Turner's 19-county, rural district was split among six predominantly Republican and more urban-suburban districts. His hometown of Crockett is now in the district represented by Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Ennis. He has said he will consider running for a statewide office, such as Governor.


Jay Williams


U.S. Congressman Jim Turner of Crockett