"There was absolutely no way to avoid that," she said. "If you look at Rep. Mike Stewart's district, it's a downtown district. The population just doesn't justify a downtown district. The growth in Davidson County has certainly happened on the southern border, and that's why we had to put a new district there. We've gone out of our way to be as fair as possible. I can't control the demographics of this state."
Jones says she believes she was singled out because of her outspoken advocacy of liberal causes. Notably, she is one of the legislature's few remaining strong proponents of abortion rights. Stewart, too, has been an increasingly vocal liberal, often taking the side of organized labor on issues before the House.
"Mike and I are pretty outspoken about our opinions," Jones said. "Bottom line, I'm just a little too open-minded."
Jones said she will run for reelection in her new district. She said she isn't sure what Stewart will do.
Stewart said, "I have staked out the position of being categorically opposed to virtually every aspect of the radical Republican agenda and I'm not surprised that they have included Rep. Jones and I in the same district. She is also a very strong representative for Democratic interests." He said he hopes Republicans will change their minds and redraw the lines the way they were.
No word yet on when Republicans will show their Senate redistricting plan to the public. Harwell said the congressional plan still is a work in progress, but she promised it'll be finished this week.
"We're still working on it. We'll have it ready in a timely fashion and it'll be ready to go. We just want to get everybody on board."