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Redistricting that makes some sense

MBJ Editorial

It would be naive to ever think that congressional redistricting would be about anything more than politics.

The process in Mississippi has been mired in partisan bickering, and if the situation does not improve, we can expect new voting districts imposed upon us by federal authority.

We are hopeful that a compromise might be reached, and that the Nov. 1 special session for redistricting will see the Legislature approve a plan that makes sense for Mississippi and satisfies the Justice Department.

So far in this process, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck’s plan comes closest to being reasonable. It has been blasted by the NAACP, the state Democratic leadership and fueled rumors that Congressman Ronnie Shows might run against Tuck in the 2003 primary.

The key issue in this redistricting imbroglio is whose seat is saved: Shows, the Democrat from the Fourth District, or Third District Congressman and Republican Chip Pickering.

Democrats in the House are hell-bent on insuring a safe district for Shows. Moderates in the process, although not free from political motives of course, seem more concerned with a redistricting plan that preserves regional integrity and shared concerns, as well as satisfying such issues as having Ole Miss and Mississippi State in separate districts.

The bottom line: Simply looking at a map, it is quite clear that the lieutenant governor’s plan works best for Mississippians. Yes, it might favor Republicans, but in this situation where politics is everything, it also happens to favor us all. And it certainly makes more sense than any of the alternatives.

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