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Rethinking redistricting process

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A few moments of clarity in a fractious session

By Sherry Robinson

In all the bombast and posturing of the recently concluded special legislative session for redistricting, there were moments of clarity.
One of the best was an exchange between two of the house’s most effective representatives, who also happen to be the majority and minority floor leaders – Reps. Ken Martinez, D-Grants, and Tom Taylor, R-Farmington.
Martinez, rarely ruffled, possesses a fine analytical mind. Taylor, smart and personable, possesses an extra measure of common sense, which can be a rare quality in the Roundhouse.
Both try to see the other’s side of things.
Redistricting is the painful, once-a-decade exercise of redistributing political districts to match the redistributed population.
Underlying the process is a trend that should sadden us all – the inexorable emptying of rural areas as people gravitate to cities, which are already scrambling to find more water and build more roads and schools.
So you begin with an urban demand for their rightful seats and the rural reflex to protect what they’ve got.
Taylor was presenting in committee a House redistricting bill he hoped could be “a template for compromise.”
The Republican approach was to collapse districts with the greatest population loss and move them to Albuquerque’s West Side and Rio Rancho.


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