Article 3 Section 7 of the Texas Constitution establishes the "Qualifications of Representatives". In order to be eligible to serve in the Texas House of Representatives a person is supposed to be a U.S. citizen, at least 21 years old, a qualified voter, a resident of Texas for the 2 years preceding the election with the last year preceding the election as a resident of the district in which they are elected.
Since 2002, after his fellow Democrats redrew our district lines which placed his home in the Nacogdoches legislative district, Jim McReynolds decided to protect his political career by renting an apartment in Lufkin so he could claim to live here. Some might think that was a shrewd move on his part but there is more to the story.
While claiming residency in Lufkin for his own political gain, my opponent also claims a homestead exemption in San Augustine which is in the Nacogdoches district. Section 11.13 of the Texas Tax Code allows property owners to claim a resident homestead exemption and deduct the exempt amount from the property's appraised value before the annual taxes are assessed. However, section 11.13 also establishes certain conditions that must be met in order to legally claim that exemption. Sub-section (j) defines a resident homestead as being occupied by the owner as his principal residence.
So here's the situation. My opponent who has no personal interests in our district simply rents an apartment in Lufkin so he can tell the Texas Secretary of State that he is eligible to represent us. At the same time, he tells the folks in San Augustine that the home he owns over there is his principal residence so he can claim a homestead exemption to reduce the property tax amount he owes in that county. In my opinion he is either cheating on his taxes or he is cheating on his eligibility to represent this district.
Like most of you, everything I hold dear in this world is right here in Lufkin...in Angelina County...in the middle of House District 12. My church, my family and friends, my home and business interests are all right here in Lufkin. At the end of the day, what Jim McReynolds is doing might be technically legal, but it's just not right. Even Hillary Clinton bought a house in New York to establish her residency among the people she wanted to represent. .
For the past 4 years we have been outsourcing our State Representative office to Jim McReynolds and it's not right for the homes and businesses of folks that really do live in House District 12 to be represented in Austin by a person that is just passing through. It makes us all look bad and it's time for a change.
Representative Jim McReynolds moved his residency form San Augustine to Lufkin in 2001 adter the adoption of a new redistricting plan for the State of Texas. The plan caused 150 shifts in Texas representation, making it tougher for legislators who represent rural areas. With the new plan, McReynolds lost San Augustine and Houston counties, but maintained 100 thousand constituents of Angelina County. McReynolds said in a telephone interview, "I have a farmhouse in San Augustine County, but Lufkin is where I live."