The Rapid City Journal reports on the upcoming effort to make Democrats even less able to elect anyone from West River (Lawmakers to take up redistricting this fall, April 3)
Talk about elections having consequences.
At a special session in October, lawmakers will approve new legislative districts drawn over the course of the year by a committee with a heavy West River contingent. Reps. David Lust, Brian Gosch and Mark Kirkeby, all Rapid City Republicans, will sit on the eight-member House redistricting committee. Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, and Sen. Jim Bradford, D-Pine Ridge, are on the seven-member Senate committee.
Here's the money quote:
“There’s a balance you have to make between getting fair representation and over-packing a district so Native Americans have fair representation,” [Rep David] Lust said.
(Well, that's a no-brainer, we can't have that.)
The current districts are terribly gerrymandered to silence Native Americans (and other gruops that lean Democratic) in Pennington County. For example, North Rapid has been split to dilute the vote to make perfectly sure that non-right-thinkers have absolutely we no voice west of the Missouri (off the Pine Ridge anyway). For example, District 32 includes a chunk of West Rapid just big enough to make sure registered Democrats are a permanent minority.
And don't get me started on 34, a case-study in how Republicans have ensured their near-monopoly on representing Rapid City for more than 25 years, despite a growing population of Democrats caused by (a) demographic changes and (b) frustration with Republican "leadership" from our legislators.
With the committee 6-1 Republican, and such heavy West River representation on the committee, we can hardly expect Dems to catch a break for fair representation, as 3/7 of the committee (Gosch, Lust, Kirkeby) depend on their gerrymandered districts for easy re-election.
The best we can hope for is they do (somehow) manage to make the situation even worse so we can have a court challenge to our unfair district boundaries.
Half of North Rapid is included in a add-on extension of District 34 (violet) to bury its Democratic vote under massive Republican majorities in West Rapid City and the western suburbs.