Originally created 07/24/01

Former state legislator would have saved House seat



Regarding The Chronicle's July 12 news story, "House plan drops seat": If former state Rep. Robin Williams, R-Augusta, had retained House seat 114 now held by Sue Burmeister, there's no doubt that the district would be left alone instead of being carved up by Georgia House Democrats.

Rep. Burmeister's district could be eliminated under a plan proposed by state Rep. Ben Allen, D-Augusta. The people who duly elected Burmeister, a Republican, will be split among two local Democratic districts, all because they had the courage to elect a representative who was not in the pocket of Gov. Roy Barnes.

Unlike former Rep. Williams, who called himself a Republican but consistently voted with the Democratic leadership, Rep. Burmeister has the courage and the conviction to vote against Gov. Roy Barnes' liberal agenda. It is no coincidence that representatives who voted for Barnes' budget will either be left alone during the redistricting process or be dealt even more favorable districts.

There are many principles upon which new districts may be drawn. These include changing populations, protection of minorities' voting strength, and keeping common interests together.

Retribution and political payback are not one of these principles. Redistricting is a necessary process. It should be used to draw fair districts that reflect current population trends without diluting minority voting strength and splitting common interests.

Instead Georgia House Democrats are using redistricting to reward their friends and castigate their enemies. Georgians must push for a fair and open redistricting process. We must not settle for maps drawn to punish legislators who have the courage to vote the way their districts want them to.

Carolyn L. Moore, Augusta