Redistricting needs to be quick process

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Sometimes great benefits come from the most mundane bits of work. Case in point: Mississippi’s impending redistricting plan.

It’s not exactly an exciting notion.

Lawmakers are faced with the daunting task of taking five congressional district and consolidating the five into four new districts.

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Sure, it sounds simple enough – if a bit boring.

But consider the various regional political factions present in the state, toss in some party pressure and a little race and the challenge becomes infinitely more complex.

When the dust settles, four representatives will be divided among Mississippi’s 2.8 million residents.

And southwest Mississippi will be affected greatly by the changes; political experts have predicting our current district, the 4th Congressional District, will be one of two combined together. And Jefferson County to our north is already being discussed as an addition to 2nd District – Mississippi’s only majority black district.

Members of the redistricting committee – including Sen. Bob M. Dearing, D-Natchez – will begin a series of work meetings later this month. Their hope is to get down to business early in the process.

And, in fact, they don’t have much time to dawdle anyway.

The Legislature is supposed to have a plan in place by early next year.

As lawmakers get down to business, we urge them to use common sense and avoid becoming mired in power struggles.

Ultimately, we are one Mississippi, how you draw the lines is simply a matter of political power. The sooner we get past the redistricting process, the sooner we’ll be able to help solve some of Mississippi’s many remaining problems.