Gov. Bobby Jindal has inserted himself more deeply into the fray over the redesign of the state’s congressional districts. Jindal has threatened to veto any map that doesn’t maintain two north Louisiana-based districts.
I am amazed at the ways in which Governor Jindal and the Louisiana media have been able to successfully parrot this line about “two north Louisiana-based districts.” We do not currently have “two north Louisiana-based districts,” and the legislature has never entertained any such plan. This is what our Congressional districts look like currently, and this is, essentially, the model Jindal supports:
Obviously, these are not two distinct North Louisiana districts; it’s completely disingenuous to call them such, and for any resident of Cenla or Acadiana, it should be noted that your Governor considers you to live in North Louisiana.
Governor Jindal, despite his previous pledge to distance himself from redistricting deliberations, is now breaking his word in order to preemptively defeat any and all proposals that would create a coherent and logical Congressional district based in Central Louisiana and another based in Northern Louisiana.
I understand how this plays: For some Louisianans, anyone who lives north of Interstate 10 is from “North Louisiana.” But, of course, if you’ve ever traveled around the State, then surely, you recognize that it’s absurd and insulting to even attempt to suggest, for example, that the residents of Avoyelles, St. Landry, and Rapides Parishes are somehow “North Louisianans” and would be more appropriately represented by someone from North Louisiana. (And it’s equally absurd to suggest that Fort Polk must be included in the same district as Barksdale Air Force Base. Two different branches of the military in two vastly different places in Louisiana).
If there is one thing the people of Central Louisiana can take away from this whole discussion, it is this: Our Governor has the opportunity to support, endorse, and sign into law a plan that has already been approved by the Louisiana State Senate, a plan that would create a Central Louisiana Congressional district. Not only does he refuse to even entertain such an option; he’s publicly stated he would veto any plan that gave Central Louisianans the Congressional representation they have long deserved. Actually, it’s worse than that: He wants to pull the curtain over our heads and make us believe that he simply supports “preserving” two North Louisiana districts.
This certainly seems like a fair plan to me, and it passes muster:
Central Louisiana is one of the fastest growing regions in the State, and with all due respect to my friends in Monroe, Northeast Louisiana has experienced significant declines. There is absolutely no reason that anyone in Monroe should be worried about sharing a Congressional district with the good people of Shreveport. They’re your neighbors. Just hop on I-20 and drive west for an hour and ten minutes.
When Governor Jindal says he will veto any plan that doesn’t preserve two North Louisiana districts, what he really means is that he will expend as much political capital as he possibly can in order to ensure Central Louisiana is sliced and diced so that two Republicans who live less than sixty miles from the Arkansas border can retain their power and control over Central Louisiana. Believe it or not, John Fleming (Minden) and Rodney Alexander (Quitman) live less than fifty miles from one another, in one of the least populated and most rural areas of our entire State.
B= Rodney Alexander
This, perhaps, is the clearest and most obvious example of Jindal’s partisan politicization of representative democracy, and the people of Central Louisiana should take note of this when they enter the ballot box later this year. Our Governor has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make things right for the people of Central Louisiana, and he seems determined to squander it.