Today’s Roanoke Times editorial lays out the consequences of partisan gerrymandering redistricting. Simply put, when legislators choose their own constituents, they “carve the country into a collection of safe congressional districts ruled by extremists.” One need only look to the current game playing in Washington to see the results of this rule by extremists: Eric Cantor continues to risk our economy and the livlihood of millions of Americans by playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship with raising the debt ceiling. In comparison, Senator Mark Warner, who represents Virginians of all political stripes, has worked hard for compromise, helping to broker the “Gang of 6” proposal that seeks to find common, bipartisan ground.
The Roanoke Times states, “state lawmakers have an opportunity to create truly competitive U.S. House districts that would encourage the election of more serious and pragmatic representatives.” The Locke redistricting plan (recently endorsed by yours truly, Virginia New Majority, Virginia AFL-CIO, and the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia) does just that–shaping compact, competitive districts that protect and encourage minority representation.
In contrast, the House of Delegates’ incumbent-protection plan would give the state’s congressmen “the same sweetheart deals state lawmakers have already given themselves.” As we said in our letter to the State Senate leadership yesterday, allowing congressmen to choose their own constituents is simply unacceptable. You can Stand With the Senate and join our call for fair, competitive congressional by signing the letter here. The alternative is simply more of the same.