Texas 9th District
Spreading out in all directions from its historic center at Allen’s Landing on Buffalo Bayou, Houston has become one of the great metropolises of North America. A half-century ago, the steaming flatlands south of Houston running down to the Gulf of Mexico did not seem a likely site for one of the world’s most advanced civilizations. But they are today. Most of the scientific work in NASA’s early years was done in Houston, and the first word spoken when man landed on the moon was “Houston.” It is the undisputed center of expertise in the oil business. In 2008, 70% of the city’s economic growth came from the energy industry. Houston has also become a medical mecca, with the giant Texas Medical Center and its 13 hospitals leaving their mark on the health care statewide. And Houston has become one of the great surprise growth cities, creating thousands of small businesses, many owned by immigrants. This success is testimony to human, and Texas, creativity, and to the triumph of air conditioning, which facilitated the growth of what is now the fourth-largest city in the nation, with a population that grew by more than one-third from 1990 to 2007. After all, far fewer people would have moved here if they had to sweat through Houston’s steamy five-month summer. The city’s growth is expected to continue. In 2007, Houston unveiled a 30-year plan that projected an increase of 3.5 million people in the region.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 9th Congressional District of Texas slices across the southern part of metropolitan Houston on the streets and freeways and waterways spreading out from the center of the city. It begins just southwest of where Interstate 45 crosses the I-610 Loop, continues west with a slight intrusion inside 610 near the Reliant Astrodome and Reliant Stadium, and then heads past Meadows Place and Mission Bend outside Beltway 8 toward the western end of Harris County. It includes two wedges of Fort Bend County, which form a crescent around the 22nd District.
The district includes many African-American neighborhoods, low-income and middle-income, in Harris and Fort Bend counties. Its population is 36% black, the third highest in any Texas district. It also includes many Asians, who form 9% of the total population, the highest percentage in Texas. Along Belleaire Boulevard is a Chinese-American community. Entrepreneurial Vietnamese boat people settled in the Alief neighborhood of southwest Houston on Bray’s Bayou and have created quality schools, an Asian-oriented shopping mall and businesses that serve the largest Vietnamese community in the nation outside of California. And of course, there are many Hispanics, who made up 40% of the district’s population in 2007, though many are not citizens or do not vote. Half of the district’s population speaks a language other than English at home. The devastation of Katrina that emptied out New Orleans moved approximately 200,000 residents to Houston, and tens of thousands have remained. Overall this is a heavily Democratic district, which voted 77% for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008.