Brookhaven, GA, April 28, 2017 – Commentary, by Alisa Hamilton – Were your ears ringing on April 15th? No? Well they should have been because your state Senator Fran Millar was talking about you and me and all of his constituents in State Senate District 40.
On that day, Millar was speaking to a group of Republicans in the 6th District when he was quoted by the AJC as saying, “I’ll be very blunt: These lines were not drawn to get Hank Johnson’s protégé to be my representative.” (http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2017/04/15/warring-republicans-try-to-unite-against-ossoff-in-georgias-sixth/)
Let me tell you how I, a lowly voter in Senate District 40, interpret that quote from Senator Millar … My Republican friends and I drew these district lines because we don’t really care what you voters think. We care about protecting our partisan interests and not the interest of Georgians. In fact, I’m so confident in my ability to rig the elections, that I can talk about rigging elections out in the open with no consequence.
Well, guess what, Mr. Millar, there will be consequences. Sure, you have enjoyed the comfort of your gerrymandered district for six years. And of course, you have bragged about wanting to disenfranchise voters before (https://thinkprogress.org/georgia-state-senator-complains-that-voting-is-too-convenient-for-black-people-updated-a040b94bf160), but we are living in different times. These days when you disrespect voters by openly boasting about your power over them, people like me pay attention.
We also are watching when you and your Republican colleagues push through redistricting legislation in non-Census years simply because it politically benefits you (see House Bill 515).
Georgia already has the fewest competitive legislative races in the country. Do we really need Senators like Fran Millar mocking our democratic process outright?
From now on, I won’t be voting for Senator Millar even if he runs unopposed, and I’ll be actively supporting challengers who will support common sense reform like State Senator Elena Parent’s S.R. 6 and S.R. 7. These bills are proactively addressing the need for a bipartisan redistricting commission before the next major Census in 2020. These bills are not popular on either side of the aisle because they threaten the status quo and put the power back where it belongs – with the voters.
It’s time that we send a message that we are not interested in partisan games. Both Republicans and Democrats in the GA legislature need to show some respect for their voters, and we as voters need to take our own power back in 2018 by voting for change.
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