Thursday, April 7, 2011

BOLLING CALLS ON GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ADOPT BIPARTISAN REDISTRICTING PLANS

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Lieutenant Governor


For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2011

Contact: Ibbie Hedrick
Phone: 804-786-2078
Cell: 804-677-0009
Email: Ibbie.Hedrick@ltgov.virginia.gov



RICHMOND – Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today issued the following statement encouraging the General Assembly to adopt bipartisan House and Senate redistricting plans and strongly consider recommendations by the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting:

“The redistricting process is never an easy one. Under the best of circumstances the process can devolve into personal political preservation and partisan gerrymandering. Too often the result is the manipulation of legislative districts to ensure incumbent protection or maximize political advantage, while the citizens’ best interests fall by the wayside. Fortunately, there is a better way.

“Earlier this year, Governor McDonnell appointed the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting to recommend prospective legislative districts to the General Assembly. The Commission’s charge was clear – to draft legislative districts which are compact, contiguous and have a common interest without regard to potential political advantage. The Commission was composed of visible Republicans and Democrats, as well as respected educational and business leaders. The Commission has now completed its work and produced a product worthy of support.

“I have long supported the establishment of a bipartisan redistricting process in Virginia, as have most members of the Senate. While the General Assembly has not seen fit to approve such legislation, this year they have an historic opportunity to move this objective forward by embracing the recommendations of the Commission and I encourage them to do so.

“These recommendations should be embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike. In properly drawn districts, both parties will have a fair chance to compete and the best interests of citizens will be placed above the self interest of politicians. That is what the redistricting process should be about.
“Regardless of which specific House and Senate redistricting proposal is approved by the General Assembly, the plan must have broad bipartisan support in order to instill confidence that the process has generated a fair and reasonable product. While the current House plan has received strong bipartisan support in committee and the full House with over 90% of the members voting for the plan, the Senate leadership’s plan has been derided as the epitome of partisan gerrymandering by Republicans and independent observers alike.

“If either house of the General Assembly fails to produce a redistricting plan that has widespread bipartisan support, it is my hope that Governor McDonnell will reject those plans and substitute them with the recommendations put forth by the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting.”

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