20 May 2005

Jeb Bush supports independent redistricting

In a stunning reversal from prior statements, Governor Jeb Bush now supports an independent commission to draw congressional and legislative districts. While Bush previously opposed such efforts in Florida, he is now actively campaigning for the concept of fair elections by joining California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger to raise money for his California Recovery Team, a committee formed to pay for ballot initiatives in the Golden State. Bush's newest position is surprising, yet encouraging. This is the kind of flip-flop that is good for democracy and good for Florida.

In Florida last year, not a single incumbent for Congress or the state legislature was defeated for reelection. Those same incumbents would like you to believe that this is because they are doing such a great job, but in actuality it is because the districts are rigged. Due to new state of the art computer software, the districts can now be drawn so precisely that the voters no longer choose their representatives. Instead, the representatives now choose their voters. Fortunately, there is a statewide effort to change this great injustice.

Common Cause Florida, the nonpartisan government watchdog group, is leading a petition drive to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2006 that will create an independent commission to draw congressional and legislative districts. The petition is also being pushed by former senatorial candidate Betty Castor, now founder and president of Campaign for Florida's Future. The current plan is modeled after a proposal first set in motion by state Representatives Anne Gannon (D-Delray Beach) and Tim Ryan (D-Dania Beach) through their Committee for Fair Elections. The effort needs over a half million signatures before the voters can decide, so Common Cause is still seeking signed petitions. (You can download a petition here. [PDF] Then mail it in.)

FloridapolitiX.com applauds the governor for choosing democracy over the good ole boys system of yesteryear. With the work of good Floridians like Jeb Bush and Betty Castor, the state's voters just may finally get the districts and the representation they deserve.


Blogger Verity said...

This is amazing.

I don't know what to think.. must digest....

9:12:00 PM  
Anonymous gator78 said...

This is a great way to frame the issue. Whether he meant to or not, Jeb just endorsed the reapportionment plan in Florida.

9:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's absolutely right. I look forward to Jeb and Castor having a fundraiser together in the near future. Let's not let Jeb forget that if he changes his mind, he'll be labeld as a dreaded "flip flopper." He wouldn't want that now, would he?

11:20:00 PM  
Blogger thelastdem said...

It would make sense that the Governor would support independent redistricting. Afterall, in the 1990's, his LT. Gov Toni Jennings supported an independent commission for redistricting.

6:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh well, Jeb disappoints us, again. This is from the May 21 St. Petersburg Times:

"... One of the measures Schwarzenegger proposes is independent redistricting - allowing a group of retired judges, instead of politicians, to decide where legislative and congressional district lines should be drawn.

Ironically, Florida Democrats led by former Education Commissioner Betty Castor are pushing for the same thing, arguing that it would make for fairer districts and more competitive elections. Bush opposes the effort in Florida.

Moreover, Bush has supported efforts to restrict the kind of ballot initiative that Schwarzenegger is pressing for.

Asked about the contradiction, Bush said the two states were too different to compare.

"The context in which we operate here in Florida is very different from the context in California," Bush said. "There's no conflict." ... "


8:14:00 PM  
Blogger thelastdem said...

On their website, it shows Republican Bob Milligan as a co-chair. This is great news!!!

12:06:00 AM  
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