Friday, August 19, 2005

Political sense and redistricting

I saw in the Tennessean the other day that several members of our Congressional delegation were calling for independent redistricting of Congressional districts. (I can't link to the article because my home PC refuses to allow me to access The Tennessean or The Knoxville News Sentinel - so here's a link to an article about it in the Dyersburg State Gazette - a fine paper, I'm sure)

Well, that's a start I guess. The congressional district that I vote in, the 4th Congressional District , is so bizarrely shaped you have to reckon it's been gerrymandered. But I guess it makes more sense than Tennessee's 7th, although its Representative Marsha Blackburn (R), says that its geographic diversity is a strength. I don't think strength in political diversity is really what she's after, but I don't suppose I can blame her for wanting to be re-elected.

See, a redistricting act would help us to avoid the kind of wrangles that the Texas Legislature got into a while back, but it wouldn't stop the constant money grubbing that House Reps have to do the minute they get into office if they want to stay there for more than 2 years. I can almost understand, it probably takes the first year just to get the hang of it, the next six months to come close to being effective and you've only just made lucrative lobbying friends when election day rolls around again.

I'm all for sensible campaign finance reform, though I haven't looked at the ins-and-outs of it to say who might have a decent plan. But, even then 2 years... it isn't really a very long time. To stop the endless chasing after cash, I think we should give them a couple of years break. Perhaps they could terms of office of four years (and elections of the House by half every two years, to keep midterms fun) which would give them a bit of breather from fundraising and maybe they could pass some sensible laws.

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