Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Georgia Redistricting Meeting

Monday, June 13, 2011

The State of Georgia conducted a Redistricting Meeting last evening at the Medical School on the Mercer University Campus in Macon, Georgia on Monday evening, June 13 from 5:00 P.M. through 7:00 P.M.

This meeting, which was one of twelve throughout the State of Georgia, was for the purpose of receiving comments from the Citizens of Georgia.  Each speaker was allowed three minutes to make their comments to the Redistricting Committee.

My comments are printed below in red ink:

  • As you conduct your work please be aware that you are working for "We The People" and focus on the fact that the districts you are drawing will allow  the election of representatives who will be "servant leaders."  Do not fall to the temptation of seeking Personal Power or Political Advantage for anyone.
  • Place Warner Robins Air Force Base and Fort Benning in the same U. S. Congressional District as well as Fort Gordon and Fort Stewart in the same U. S. Congressional District.  Additionally keep the metro areas of these bases in the same district.  This will allow the establishment of Districts with like minded interest to have appropriate representation in the U. S. Congress.
  • The current 8th U. S. Congressional District is probably the longest District in Georgia and is also known as the most obese and poorest District in the U. S. A.  What does the citizen (voter) on the North end of the District have in common with the citizen (voter) in the South end of the District.  Admittedly we as the entire population of District 8 like to eat and we do so with the fewest financial resources.
  • When looking at the current 12th U. S. Congressional District it appears that Fort Gordon and Fort Stewart are in the 12th, however a large number of citizens (voters) in the areas of these Forts do not live in the 12th District.  I see this as a reduction of influence by the citizens of this District. 
  • Now regarding the Georgia Senate Seat for Bibb County, it would be most proper to place  all of Bibb County in the Georgia Senate Seat.  The citizens (voters) of Bibb have much more in common with fellow Bibb County citizens than having a current Senate Seat that covers part of Bibb County and also Danville, Georgia.
  • I concluded my discussion with a reminder that I am glad that Georgia is obtaining an additional U. S. House of Representative Seat as a result of the 2010 Census.  I encouraged the Redistricting Committee to draw the lines so that all of Georgia is well represented for future growth without regard to politics.  Georgia is growing and will continue to grow with excellent representation that is focused on "We The People."  Thank You.
The next speaker addressed the Committee and summed up his comments with this phrase or words in this manner:

"Currently the elected officials choose the Voters versus The Voters choose the elected officials." 

A spokesman for the League of Women Voters requested a "fair redistricting process" and Justice Department pre-clearance.

The next speaker presented a three point focus to the committee:
  1. Reflect Communities.  Do not reflect political advantage.
  2. Openness in the process.  The citizens need the potential for review as the process is conducted. 
  3. Finally, equality. 
Another speaker spoke to the need to seek commonality of community.  Keep counties intact in so far as humanly possible.

Yet another addressed the committee: 

  • Keep counties intact in so far as humanly possible.
  • Keep in mind that each district have fair representation of all demographics.
Next a citizen presented a very brief message for the Committee:

    "Follow the Law, Stay out of Court"

Another speaker addressed the Committee:
  • The process must be fair, include all aspects of demographics
  • The timing of the Redistricting Meetings was questioned. 
  • More meetings need to be held in Rural Georgia.
One speaker noted that the Senate Panel of the Redistricting Committee did not include any women when women represent about half the population of Georgia.  This speaker also hoped that proposed maps would be available at this meeting so that citizens could make comments about the proposed lines.   Once the lines are drawn, allow opportunity for citizen comment.  Also obtain Justice Department pre-clearance to avoid costly litigation.

The next speaker reminded the Committee that we need better times so that more could attend these meetings and do not split counties.

An elected official of Taylor County urged the Committee keep Taylor County in House District 135.

The next speaker advised the Committee that their Good Judgement was Trusted.  Do not waste Georgia's resources in law suits.

Another citizen of a rural portion of a local county advised the Commitee to seek the advice of the currently elected officials.  Do the best redistricting scheme possible.

Please note that during the course of the meeting that there were several breaks to allow newcomers to register to make comments.  The meeting was scheduled to last until 7:00 P.M. and the Redistricting Committee would be present until that time.  I departed the meeting at about 6:40 P.M.  We were also informed that each of the twelve meetings throughout the State of Georgia were being recorded so that an accurate record would be available.

It is my hope that the Redistricting Committee takes all the concerns of the citizens (voters) into consideration as they redraw the Georgia Districts to represent "We The People" in the most appropriate manner. 

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