Hampton Roads Leaders Urge Support of Locke's Congressional Redistricting Plan
HAMPTON- Hampton Roads community leaders are speaking out today in support of the Congressional redistricting plan, sponsored by Sen. Mamie Locke, which calls for the creation of a second minority-opportunity Congressional district in the Commonwealth.
Former Delegates Mary Christian and Flora Crittenden, and Civil Rights Attorney Al Smith want legislators to pass redistricting bill SB5004 when the Senate reconvenes on April 25.
"Virginia needs to have Congressional districts that are truly representative of our growing minority population. For far too long, the voices of minority voters have been diluted in other districts because of packing. It's time to give minority voters a real opportunity to choose their candidate of choice," said Christian, who represented the 92nd District from 1986 to 2003.
"It has been more than 40 years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to provide more minorities with equal voting rights. Minorities still face difficulties in electing a candidate of choice because our current district maps are packed at higher levels than necessary which essentially wastes votes. The Congressional redistricting map being proposed by Senator Locke is the first step the General Assembly should take in readdressing this issue," said Smith.
The proposed Senate map, which meets all federal and state legal requirements, would make significant changes to Virginia's 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts. The 3rd District, currently represented by Rep. Bobby Scott, would become more compact and would become a minority-opportunity district.
Virginia's 4th Congressional District would move northward into the east end of Richmond under the Senate plan and place Republican Congressman Randy Forbes into a majority-minority district.
"Today, I urge my friends and former colleagues in the General Assembly to support the passage of a redistricting bill that would create a second minority-opportunity district. Every voter deserves to live in a district where their vote counts and their voices can be heard," said Crittenden, who served in the House of Delegates from 1993 to 2003.
Hampton Commissioner of the Revenue Ross Mugler and members of the citizens awareness group Hampton Watch have also endorsed Locke's redistricting bill.