COMMITTEE MIRRORS CONCERNS
Where's Tim??? (let's ask the Boss Hawgs and yellow dawgs ;>)
Beckley - A Raleigh County delegate says the recently appointed House redistricting committee is a prime example of the concerns many of his colleagues from both political parties share concerning the upcoming redistricting process of the West Virginia House of Delegates."There are good people on this committee; people I like and respect. But from the first selection to the first 'non-selection'; you can see the political bosses at work to draw up a government of the incumbents, by the incumbents, and for the incumbents; with no real input from the citizens of West Virginia. Not only is the key member from the minority party missing; but also those from the majority party who have
had the courage to publicly support the Single Member Districts which are being overwhelmingly supported by the West Virginia citizenry."Rick Snuffer goes on to explain while the appointment of House Majority Leader Brent Boggs to chair the committee is understandable and the right one; the omission of House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, who had requested to be on the committee, is a signal right from the beginning that no matter what public statements have been issued by House leadership, the political bosses are going to be the ones calling the shots with no concern for what West Virginians or any elected official who isn't marching lockstep with the political bosses desire."This is the first time in 40 years the Minority Leader hasn't been allowed a voice in the redistricting process. Where's Tim and why hasn't there been any public/media discussion and scrutiny over this omission? No matter what facade is put on the committee - any public statements issued, websites created, toll free numbers set up at the public expense, or even if they cave to pressure; reverse course and hold a token public hearing or two - if you look at the committee and who is on it and who isn't, it's very easy to foresee the result will be 'Monkey Business as usual' ," says Snuffer.
The first-term delegate is also quick to note while 2/3rds of West Virginia House districts are single member districts, only a little over 1/3 of districts represented on the redistricting committee represents SMDs."Add these factors up, with the absense of any vocal Democrat delegates who have advocated allowing WV citizens to be represented by 100 individually elected delegates, and it's fairly easy to see an incumbency protection plan in the making", Snuffer emphasizes. "Unless there is enough public outcry and media pressure to force leadership to ignore the wishes of their party bosses and put the interests of the state of West Virginia and her citizens first, we are going to see a narrowly focused and narrow minded redistricting plan forced through, barring anydirection from a court to do otherwise."Snuffer concludes, "This happened with the initial resistance to a primary for the special election for Governor and it's possible it could happen again; if an overwhelmingly, un-ignorable amount of voters let their thoughts be made known to the House leadership and committee members."