[Vision2020] The Palouse is no place for giant gerrymanders

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Tue Jun 28 02:30:17 PDT 2011

Courtesy of today's (June 28, 2011) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.


OUR VIEW: The Palouse is no place for giant gerrymanders

One of northern Idaho's legislative districts will soon be moving to Boise.

The Idaho Citizen Commission for Reapportionment was in town last week
getting advice on how to fill the resulting vacuum. This is just one part
of its job to redraw the boundaries for the state's two congressional
districts and 35 legislative districts to conform to 10 years of
population growth.

Population has grown fastest in the east and west suburbs of Boise, not so
much in smaller towns and rural areas. As a result, those places will have
relatively less representation in the Legislature after redistricting is

Moscow included.

After redistricting it is likely that two or three more Democrats will
come from the Boise area. Still, it won't affect the balance of power
there. Of 70 state representatives, 11 are Democrats. Of 35 state
senators, seven are Democrats.

The question being put to the reapportionment commission is whether
northern Idaho ought to be allowed to keep two districts with the
possibility of electing a Democrat, namely the 6th centered on Moscow and
7th centered on Lewiston.

Arch conservatives Paula Bauer and Gresham Bouma of Viola are arguing
against it. They think the two districts should be stripped of their rural
voters and combined into a single "urban" district comprising Moscow and
Lewiston, with Genesee thrown in. Then, Latah's rural residents could join
a geographically huge district of like-minded voters.

This is the wrong approach.

We think senators and representatives in districts whose voters sometimes
vote Democrat, sometimes Republican, tend to be more thoughtful, less
doctrinaire, more practical, less partisan.

We think that's a good thing. That's the kind of districts the 6th and 7th
are now. Their urban-rural combination should be kept, not turned into
strident Democrat and Republican strongholds.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"The Pessimist complains about the wind, the Optimist expects it to change
and the Realist adjusts his sails."

- Author Unknown

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