Sunday, April 17, 2011

Legislators head back to Richmond after Tea Party event – video

Senator Edwards and Senator Smith are all smiles in a private discussion.

Governor McDonnell has vetoed HB 5001, the redistricting bill passed by the General Assembly. ”This is the first Senate plan over the last 40 years that did not receive at least minimum bipartisan support,” said the Governor in a statement.

Senator Ralph Smith said, “we’ll start all over again Monday.” Smith stands to be drawn into the same district as his Republican counterpart Steve Newman. 

The Governor called the Senate’s plan the “kind of gerrymandering that Virginians asked that we leave in the past.” He contrasted the party line vote in the Senate with the bipartisan House of Delegates plan vote of 86-8.

Senator Smith said, “the correct way would be to push [districts] east but take one out of Southwest Virginia – lines will look more compact.”

McDonnell pointedly remarked that the Senate had pushed for bipartisan redistricting with previous legislation. “In stark contrast, the Senate plan failed to garner any votes in the Senate from the minority party,” he said.

Among his other reasons for vetoing the bill:

  • It failed the one person- one vote ideal
  • The districts are not compact
  • The Senate plan increases the number of times localities are split
  • Communities of interest are split and jurisdiction lines
  • The Senate plan underpopulates slow growth regions while overpopulating high-growth regions
  • He questioned compliance with the Voting Rights Act

“Time is of the essence,” said McDonnell. The legislature will be back in Richmond Monday. Under the rules of the legislature a 48-hour notice is required.

The complete letter is HERE.

Stratigically placed signs dotted the entrance to Elmwood Park at Friday's Tea Party Tax Day

At Friday’s Tea Party tax day Smith said, “Not everyone in the Senate now will be back.” He was unfazed and a bit resigned to his fate.

With a knowing smile Smith explained how “fexible” he was with children grown and how he was free to move anywhere. However, he hedged when asked if he’d consider moving to Senator John Edwards’ 21st district. Time will tell what his plans are but I suspect we have not heard the last from Senator Ralph Smith.

Following the Tea Party event Senator Smith and Senator John Edwards were in deep discussion with Smith doing most of the talking. Both were smiling but when I asked Democrat Senator Edwards what they were discussing he said, “Smith wanted compromise on Senate redistricting.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2011, Elections, Politics, State Politics

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