Chaisson said he designed the new minority district that splits up McPherson’s district in a skinny, curving shape through North and Central Louisiana in order to avoid putting Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, and Sen. Gerald Long, R-Winnfield, in the same district.
As I mentioned before, how does this look logical at all?
No one doubts the importance of ensuring minority representation in the Louisiana State Senate, but Senator Joel Chaisson should be ashamed. As others, including State Senator Lydia Jackson, have noted, there are many other ways of creating another majority-minority Senate district that is more compact and cohesive. Under the plan adopted by the Louisiana State Senate, District 29 snakes through six different parishes; it’s nearly 160 miles long and, for the most part, less than twenty miles wide (often, less than five miles wide). Quoting again from Senator Chaisson:
“I like to make everybody happy, and I tried my best, but this is just one time when I couldn’t do it,” Chaisson said.
No, he tried his best to ensure that Bob Kostelka wouldn’t be challenged by an incumbent Republican, which, I suppose, could be best accomplished by creating a torturously-designed “majority-minority” district that bisects the center of the State and splinters the Alexandria-Pineville Metro area.
Lydia Jackson is a Harvard-educated, African-American woman from North Louisiana, and thank God she’s in the Louisiana State Senate. (One day, I hope she will consider running for higher office). From The Advocate:
State Sen. Lydia Jackson, D-Shreveport, led the opposition by the eight black members of the Senate, all of whom voted against the measure. She argued SB1 likely would fail the federal approval process because the new black majority district was not compact. The new black majority districts in SB1 were bizarrely drawn in order to protect incumbents from having to run against each other, Jackson said.
Call or e-mail Governor Jindal’s office. If he decides to sign this into law, then it will likely be challenged. Hopefully, our Governor won’t allow blatant political appeasement to interfere with fair representation.