Eases Washington Gridlock through Fair, Open Redistricting
WASHINGTON, April 21, 2010 – The fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition has officially endorsed U.S. Rep. John Tanner’s legislation calling for public input in the redistricting process. The bipartisan “Redistricting Transparency Act,” which Tanner introduced with U.S. Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), will help ease the partisan gridlock that often blocks bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing our country.
The bill seeks to stop partisan gerrymandering, the drawing of Congressional district lines for partisan gain and the protection of incumbents, a process often conducted behind closed doors so that voters have less say in who represents them.
“The result is a Congress comprised largely of Members – well-intentioned as they usually are – who are responsive to the party base in their districts,” said Tanner, a founding member of the Blue Dog Coalition. “The present system makes bipartisanship difficult and sometimes virtually impossible.”
Fewer than 100 of 435 House districts can be considered competitive within a 4-point margin of error, according to analysis from the Cook Political Report.
“The vast majority of Americans would find themselves aligned in the ideological center,” Tanner said, “but that is not always reflected in the partisan tones of Congressional politics.”
The “Redistricting Transparency Act” requires open hearings and a public Web site in each state with data on Congressional districts so the public can watch and participate in the system by which district lines are drawn following the release of Census data. The public process would be overseen by the state’s redistricting entity, whether it is the state legislature or another body, such as an independent commission as outlined in the “Fairness and Independence in Redistricting (FAIR) Act” (HR 3025, Tanner/Castle), a comprehensive redistricting reform bill also endorsed by the Blue Dog Coalition in the 109th, 110th and 111th Congresses.
Tanner represents the 8th Congressional District in West and Middle Tennessee. Co-founder of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, Tanner serves on the Ways and Means Committee, where he chairs the Social Security Subcommittee, and on the Foreign Affairs Committee. A veteran of the U.S. Navy and the Tennessee Army National Guard, Tanner chairs the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and is serving as NATO PA President.