Lt. Gov. Tuck: Standing firm on redistricting
Nov. 11, 2001
Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck is taking a lot of heat from members of her political party due to her firm stand on redrawing congressional district lines. She is demonstrating considerable strength in withstanding the political pressure and we encourage her to stay the course.
Her plan was the best of the bunch. It treated all areas of the state fairly. It retained the geographic, economic and historic bonds of common interests that make areas of Mississippi distinct.
Clearly, the state Senate was not the obstructionist in the Legislature's failure to adopt a new redistricting plan. The Senate did not display the overt partisanship of the House, which, unfortunately, put partisan interests before the state's interests and violated the important principles of compactness, communities of interest and regional identities.
By adhering to the principles of regional integrity, Tuck has demonstrated a high degree of political courage. We continue to support the notion that reasonable, regional boundaries are in the best interests of the state the very notions embodied in her plan.
Any new plan for a central district must be fair that is to say it should give both U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows and U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering as equal a chance as humanly possible at getting elected. No political office should be won or lost before the voters even have a chance to see and hear the candidates
It is a shame that the Legislature could not come up with a good plan because deadlines are looming for getting the new lines in place in time for the 2002 congressional elections. The qualifying deadline is March 1, but the plan must be presented to the U.S. Justice Department at least 60 days beforehand.
It was the Legislature's constitutional responsibility to do its job, but it appears as if, again, courts will do the job for them.
In the final analysis, such a horrible plan as passed by the House would not have been worth the cost to either East Mississippi or the rest of the state.