Wednesday, June 24, 2009

With GOP in Control, Tanner Decides He's Against Gerrymandering

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 1:14 PM

click to enlarge John Tanner
  • John Tanner
Now that Republicans control the legislature for the first time since the Civil War, Democrats are demanding an end to gerrymandering for the first time since the Civil War. Today, Congressmen John Tanner, Jim Cooper and others introduced what they named the FAIR Act to stop gerrymandering: "the political power grab that too often cripples Congress' ability to work together on bipartisan solutions." Right. It also too often cripples an incumbent's ability to win reelection when the opposing party is redrawing the district lines. Depending on the results of the 2010 election, redistricting could make life really difficult for Tanner, Bart Gordon and Lincoln Davis. Their troubles are over if the FAIR Act passes. Under that bill, a bipartisan commission in each state would draw that state's congressional map exactly once every 10 years, following the release of new Census data. Reform is urgent, says Tanner:
"We must reform the system so the people can elect their representatives instead of allowing politicians to select their constituents with computer software based on strictly political considerations. When politicians draw district lines, it often favors political partisanship and self-protection over public interest. Gerrymandered districts breed partisanship and discourage members of Congress from working across the aisle on real solutions to the challenges facing our country."
Update: Looks like Tanner first introduced this bill in 2005 when Democrats still held some power. But even then, he knew what was coming. Update II: Email from Tanner flack Randy Ford: "I just wanted to point out that Congressman Tanner has been working on this issue for 3 Congresses now. Congressman Cooper has been a supportive co-sponsor all along, and Congressman Wamp was the lead Republican sponsor in the 109th and 110th Congresses."

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