About 20 Western North Carolina residents shared their views on the N.C. General Assembly’s House and Senate redistricting proposals at a July 18 public hearing at A-B Tech. The vast majority of them lambasted the House proposal as GOP gerrymandering designed to give Republicans an electoral edge at the expense of Democratic candidates and voters. Here’s a sampling of the people who came out and their views. Look for a full report in the July 27 issue of Xpress.
Rep. Patsy Keever thanked supporters who came to speak out against the plan that she calls a partisan ploy to “get rid of one Democrat in hopes of getting two Republicans. …They want to pile all the progressives in to the city and have two districts.” [The proposed districts write Keever out of the district she currently represents and would pit her against fellow Democrat Rep. Susan Fisher.]
Barbara Coulson: “This whole series of maps shows the aim of this redistricting was payback and Republican incumbent insurance. … Splitting counties is confusing for voters and expensive for Boards of Elections.”
Rep. Nelson Dollar (and House Redistricting Committee Chair): “This is part of an unprecedented effort to hold public hearings and give people a say in the process. … We believe these maps are fair and legal.”
Former Republican state Senator RL Clark: “I don’t think the senate districts should split counties”
Rep. Susan Fisher’s former Campaign Manager Beth Trigg: “These maps pack minorities and Democrats into as few districts as possible. I want you to redraw them in a way that respects Buncombe voters.”
Richard Warren: “Standing in front of young people and telling them it’s a fair system is ridiculous. … This is doing a lot of damage to democracy.”
Left to right: Beth Trigg, Jane Whilden, Cliff Moone. Whilden said she was considering challenging Rep. Tim Moffitt to a rematch to represent the 116th District in the House. Moone, the 10th District Democratic Chair, said: “When the GOP says it wants limited government, they mean they want government that’s limited to them”.
Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt (pictured in the middle) promised that the Democratic Party would fight the plans with lawsuits.
Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Emmett Carney called the House proposal a “cheap trick.” He also reported that if the maps pass, “we’re going to have to retool as a party. … We’re prepared for the worst, but we hope for the best.”
Photos by Jonathan Welch