Voters will be watching the Va. legislators who nixed redistricting reform
On Tuesday morning, as the eyes of the nation were fixed on the chaos in the White House, five Republican members of a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee dealt a quick and quiet death to all hopes that the General Assembly might approve modest bipartisan redistricting reforms this year.
On party-line votes, they rejected two Senate resolutions that would have put redistricting reform on the statewide ballot in 2018 and a Senate bill that would have created an interim redistricting commission to redraw the lines if state and congressional district lines are declared unconstitutional.
As long as politicians can pick their voters and ensure, as was the case in the 2015 Virginia elections, that not a single incumbent legislator was defeated for reelection, our polarized political system — in Washington and in Richmond — will persist. Voters of both parties are now taking names — in this case, the five legislators — S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk), Mark L. Cole (R-Spotsylvania), Margaret B. Ransone (RWestmoreland), Hyland F. Fowler Jr. (R-Hanover) and Leslie R. Adams (R-Pittsylvania) — who saved the rest of their party from having to vote on the issue. Four of these legislators were unopposed in 2015, and the fifth won with 60 percent of the vote. Is it any wonder that they have a stake in perpetuating the process of political gerrymandering?
Sara Fitzgerald, Falls Church The writer was a member of the redistricting reform study committee of the League of Women
Voters of Virginia before the 2011 redistricting.