Former Senator Jones Letter to the Editor

From former Louisiana State Senator Bill Jones:

Redistricting 2011—or, how Lincoln Parish disappeared.

Senator Bob Kostelka is Chairman of the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee. That is the committee that handles redistricting after the 2010 census. Senator Kostelka currently represents Lincoln Parish in the State Senate. The proposed redistricting plan that came out of Senator Kostelka’s committee condemns Lincoln Parish to obscurity and strips it of any future influence in the State Legislature. Apparently Senator Kostelka cares very little for Lincoln Parish. If he did, he would not have let Senate Bill 1 out of his committee—which, as Chairman, he controls.

  • Here is what Senator Kostelka’s redistricting plan does:
  • It divides Lincoln Parish between three Senate districts—the 29th, the 33d, and the 35th.
  • It divides Lincoln Parish’s two State Universities between the 29th and the 35th districts.
  • It makes Lincoln Parish a distinct minority in all 3 Senate districts.
  1. Lincoln Parish has only 17% of the 29th, which contains Grambling University; Rapides dominates that district; Rapides has 49%.
  2. Lincoln Parish has just 4.4% of the 33d; Ouachita Parish has 39.1%.
  3. Lincoln Parish has only 18.8% of the 35th, which contains Louisiana Tech; Ouachita has 41.2%; Rapides has 17%.

What do these numbers mean? They mean that the State Senators from the 29th, 33d, and 35th will owe their primary allegiance to Ouachita and Rapides Parishes, not Lincoln Parish. That means that the needs of Lincoln Parish will come behind those of Ouachita and Rapides.

Senator Kostelka has cleverly elevated Ouachita into being the dominant Parish in two districts and he has enabled Rapides to dominate the other. He has also stripped Lincoln Parish of its historic authority in the State Senate.

Lincoln Parish’s economy is driven by our two universities. In the fight for scarce resources, is it reasonable to think that future Senators are going to put Lincoln Parish’s needs ahead of Ouachita or Rapides? I doubt it. Those future Senators will have the bulk of their voters in Ouachita and Rapides. Lincoln Parish is so chopped up by this bill that it will not be a factor in future elections. If the plan that Senator Kostelka let out of his committee becomes law, there won’t be any State Senators from Lincoln Parish.

By the way, Governor Bobby Jindal, who has always enjoyed strong support from Lincoln Parish, has publicly endorsed the redistricting plan that came out Senator Kostelka’s committee.

Now the question becomes, what will State Representative Rick Gallot, who is the Chairman of House Governmental Affairs, do with this bill when it gets to his committee?

Lincoln Parish voters must get active, and quickly.

Bill Jones

3 Responses to “Former Senator Jones Letter to the Editor”

  1. wascator Says:

    How much of this division is caused by trolling for minority voters in creating “majority minority” districts? I just wondered if it might be a factor. It seems to me that we have more interests in common with Ouachita than with Rapides.

  2. Joe Monroe Says:

    Lincoln Parish now gets what it has dished out to Ouachita Parish for years. Now, Lincoln Parish will be broken into pieces like Ouachita Parish is. This would not have happened if (former) Sen. Bill Jones had not messed over James Davison on the road to Critter’s Creek.

  3. sharps disposal Says:

    biohazard disposal…

    […]Former Senator Jones Letter to the Editor « Lincoln Parish News Online[…]…

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