Editorial: Steer clear of partisan redistrictingSome Republican lawmakers seem intent on accomplishing their redistricting responsibility without significant participation by Democrats.
Some Republican lawmakers seem intent on accomplishing their redistricting responsibility without significant participation by Democrats.
That attitude of partisanship over productive politics makes us wish elected officials had listened to Minnnesota’s political heavyweights who argued for several years that the state’s system for deciding legislative and congressional district boundaries is broken.
The likes of Walter Mondale and Arne Carlson urged the Legislature to create a bipartisan panel of retired appellate judges to draw new district boundaries for state senators and representatives and Minnesota’s U.S. House members. Thanks, but no thanks, was the current leadership’s reply: We’re up to the take of ensuring districts of equal size following the 2000 census.
Any majority can bull its way to a redistricting map that favors a party — Democratic leadership certainly has done so on occasion — but that’s not in the public’s best interest. And lawmakers need to remember they represent every citizen in their district, regardless of voting persuasion.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton may veto the Republican House and Senate’s final redistricting bill. If a stalemate follows, redistricting will end up in the courts.
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz had to appoint a judicial panel to resolve the redistricting dispute in 2002. How much better if the Legislature had adopted the appointment process from the start and done so without political animosity.
To paraphrase Carlson, a former Republican governor, partisan redistricting results in incumbents seeking their own constituencies, as opposed to the constituencies seeking their public servants. That’s not what a democratic republic is all about.
(Originally published by the Red Wing Republican-Eagle)