Rodriguez for Congress campaign
Independent Maps

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[September 22, 2016]  Independent Maps Are Absolutely Necessary According to Rodriguez - Reconfiguring the maps of legislative and congressional districts is a constitutional requirement that occurs each decade after the results of the census have been announced.

Thus, like clockwork, the process of redistricting begins as state legislators initiate a frantic effort to preserve their domain and, in effect, make it bulletproof so as to head off any potential challengers. This is certainly not a situation where less is more. How is it that we have allowed our citizen democracy to sink to this level?

Writing in Federalist # 51, James Madison cautioned that “a power independent of the society may as well espouse the unjust views of the major, as the rightful interests, of the minor party,” and he saw this as one of the potential weaknesses of the checks and balances built into the American constitutional system. It is unfortunate that Madison’s great concern has come to fruition in the process of redistricting. We have permitted a system to take effect in which the politicians have the constitutional right to select their voters. This has, in effect, created the conveyor belt of incumbency that produces the most absurd of notions—the career politician. In effect, our current system gives voters much less of a choice in selecting their representatives.

I support the idea of having legislative and congressional district maps developed by an independent commission that is absolutely free of partisan influence. The principle of rationality must be employed in the creation of these maps to determine most accurately where the lines must ultimately be drawn. This kind of Solomon-like wisdom does not come naturally to the political class—of either party—so we must rely upon the judicious temperament of independent-minded individuals to sort through the demographic data and make the best choices.

The notion of having legislative and congressional district boundaries determined by an independent commission should not be construed as anything that will undermine the power and the influence of the voting public. Certain safeguards can be put in place to protect the rights that racial and ethnic minorities are guaranteed under the Voting Rights Act. In addition, the districts drawn should reflect the common interests of the residents included and should honor geographic boundaries rather than simply dividing a neighborhood down the middle of a street.

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The gerrymandered districts that exist currently have been tremendously effective in preserving the status quo, and where has that gotten us? Voters are periodically roused with the “throw the bums out” mentality, but this does not always lead to effective change because collectively we seem to have a short attention span in such matters. Maybe 2016 will be different—time will tell.

The independent maps approach is a true good government reform that can hopefully produce government that is more effective than our current system. In a true citizen democracy we should not consider a legislative district to be a personal fiefdom to be maintained by the political class. The People are sovereign within our system, and the People are relatively independent-minded when it comes to understanding what is right from what is just plain wrong. We deserve the right to a system that can help make our government better. Our goal for the past 229 years has been “to form a more perfect Union,” and the independent maps proposal can help us to achieve that end.

[Text from file received]

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