(THIS IS A MESSAGE SENT 4/25/2013 TO THE STATEWIDE LISTSERVE FOR THE NORTH CAROLINA ADVOCATES FOR JUSTICE… THIS IS A POLITICAL POST, BUT DEALS WITH A GOVERNMENTAL ISSUE THAT AFFECTS THE FUTURE COMPOSITION OF THE STATE’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION AND THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY — A SUBJECT WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY RELATED TO OUR PROFESSION AND PRACTICES.)
Folks that know me, will know how hard it is for me to say this… but I gotta hand it to Speaker Tillis. On at least on this issue, REDISTRICTING REFORM, Speaker Tillis is showing some enlightened leadership.
I have long thought, and said publicly, that THE most serious threat to American democracy today is the abuse of the redistricting process around the country, where the boundaries of election districts for Congressional, State Senate, State House, County Commission and other local seats are determined by raw political power. The result has been clear — more and more extreme politicians, representing more and more extreme districts, with less and less room for compromise or rational public policy.
(The “Great Gerrymandering of 2012“ in NC is just one example. Our state now sends 9 GOP Congressmen to D.C. and only 4 Democrats, even though more NC voters cast ballots for Democratic Congressional candidate. Of course, GOP leaders counter that the Democrats engaged in the same practice when they had the majority. Regardless of who was or is doing it, it makes for lousy public policy.)
Thom Tillis and most of the Republicans, when they were in the Minority, were all about Redistricting Reform. TO HIS CREDIT, the Speaker is now bucking up against some in his own caucus, and has publicly expressed support of HB 606, which calls for districts to be drawn NOT by whatever party happens to be in power, but by professional staff following certain mostly non-political criteria. The NCGA gets to approve the staff plan with an up or down vote.
The concept has been endorsed by at least a half-dozen papers around the state, and a number of former Governors and office holders from both parties. A plan very much like it is in effect in Iowa, and has been widely applauded by both parties.
So, yesterday on my way back from Raleigh filing something with the NCIC, I did something REALLY unusual for me — I called a Republican’s office-holder to offer support and thanks. I told the aide at the Speaker’s office (at 919-733-3451) that, having gone against him on TV before, I now wanted to publicly compliment him and thank him for this enlightened stand.
For the sake of better government in the future, I would ask that you join me. I think it is appropriate as Advocates for Justice to be advocates for good government. Show the Speaker a little love. You can email him at Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net or call at the number above.
I am told by those behind the bill that his continued support — not just verbal, but strategic and aggressive — is crucial to the success of this measure.
<<< Here are some other links to use if you want to publicly promote this in other venues.