Viewpoint: Redrawing politics in GA

A special session of the General Assembly is underway to approve new state and Congressional voting districts.

For the first time, Republicans are in charge of the process, and they're doing many of the things they complained about from Democrats for years.

It hasn't been a very open process. Republicans refused to get public input on their plan. They only unveiled their maps last Friday. And they broke with tradition of having independent experts from the University of Georgia do much of the redistricting work.

Their Senate plan also throws the only two remaining south Georgia Democrats into the same district. The map expands Freddie Powell Sims' District 12 north. The lines swing over to take in half of Sumter County, the half where 30-year General Assembly veteran George Hooks happens to live.

We should point out, Hooks told us he doesn't think Republicans are targeting him. South Georgia lost population, we're going to lose representation in Atlanta, and there are limited options for new district lines.

But Republicans have large majorities in both houses. They sit in every statewide office. Is it really necessary to pit Hooks and Sims, two lawmakers with a history of standing up for south Georgia against each other?

Redistricting is inherently a contentious and political process. We hope the people in charge realize that doesn't have to mean it's unfair.

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