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|Family Forum redistricting plan makes sense|
Though the Legislature will not tackle redistricting until after the 2010 census, one organization has pieced together a plan state lawmakers should seriously consider when they entertain redrawing the state's congressional districts.
Bearing in mind that Louisiana most likely will lose one of its seven congressional districts following the 2010 census in light of the state's dismal population growth, Louisiana Family Forum compiled a redistricting plan that makes sense to us.
It steers clear of at least one suggested redistricting proposal, which would combine Congressman Rodney Alexander's 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives with Congressman John Fleming's 4th District. The 4th District currently stretches south from the Arkansas border in western Louisiana to just north of Lake Charles. The hub of the 4th District is Shreveport.
Alexander's 5th District currently mirrors the old 5th District, which was represented for years by Otto Passman. It was known then as it is known today as northeast Louisiana's congressional district, though the district encompasses the Alexandria area as well. The hub of the 5th District is Monroe while Alexandria plays a pivotal role in the 5th, too.
Louisiana Family Forum's proposal – for all practical purposes – would preserve the 4th District and 5th District as they are today.
Louisiana Family Forum's proposal also would secure a congressional district in the New Orleans area, which we could safely describe as a district that would most likely be represented by a minority in the U.S. House. That's important, too, for the state needs to avoid any appearance of thwarting a minority's chances of being elected to the House.
While we recognize a movement is afoot in some corners to merge the 4th District and the 5th District to allow southern Louisiana to enjoy representation among five members in the U.S. House, it is unreasonable to suggest north Louisiana should be represented by only one man or one woman.
That begs the question.
How could one man or one woman adequately represent all of north Louisiana?
That's a question members of the Legislature must ask themselves when they tackle redistricting following the 2010 census. Hopefully, a reasonable debate will surface.
In any event, we feel certain Sen. Robert Kostelka of Monroe, who chairs the Senate committee that will oversee redistricting, will see to it that north Louisiana's interests are preserved.
Kostelka could take a positive step in that direction if he would embrace Louisiana Family Forum's redistricting plan.