Sen. Lester Jackson: Redistricting was an unfair, Republican-led disaster

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This is an op-ed by Georgia Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah). He has served in the Georgia General Assembly since 1998. For another view on this topic, read Rep. Ron Stephens' op-ed headlined "Redistricting upheld values of fairness and community".

"Redistricting upheld values of fairness and community".

The decennial census results are in and per the U.S. Constitution and state laws, redistricting and reapportionment must take place. To that end, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called a special session of the Georgia General Assembly to redraw our 14 congressional seats, as well as the 56 state Senate seats and 180 state House of Representative seats. The Republican-dominated General Assembly did what they wanted to do and protected their majorities at the cost to the trending of Georgia to a more diverse state.

RELATED: Rep. Ron Stephens: Redistricting upheld values of fairness and community

Letters to the editor: Readers label Georgia redistricting process as gerrymandering

It was a disaster made by the overzealousness of the Republicans and proved to exclude Democrats, people of color and any diverse thinking opposition. It is evident when you look at the final maps that were approved along mostly party lines. On the U.S. House maps, while all 14 current congressional representatives have a seat to run in, they managed to carve up two solidly Democrat districts and made one Republican leaning in the greater Atlanta area. They also made the one congressional seat in southwest Georgia a tougher district for the Democrat congressman to hold.

Locally in Chatham County, the redistricting on the Georgia House of Representatives map moved one representative out of his district and home base of Garden City and moved two other minority representatives into that city, one that they have never represented. In addition, they weakened the ability of Democrats to win House District 164, one of the more competitive Georgia House district in recent election cycles, by pushing more of Republican-leaning Bryan County into the seat and cutting out the Democrat-leaning area of Liberty County.

This map of Georgia's Congressional districts will be on the chopping block this year as the Republican controlled General Assembly takes on the once-per-decade process of redistricting.
This map of Georgia's Congressional districts will be on the chopping block this year as the Republican controlled General Assembly takes on the once-per-decade process of redistricting.

On the Senate side, they drew a Republican state senator into Chatham County whose home is in Statesboro. Statesboro and the agrarian nature of his district will mean this new senator will not understand our problems related to our urban nature including housing, food deserts, employment and schools.

And that calamitic effect means a new outside senator will join our other Republican senator and can override my protective position on any legislation affecting Chatham County. This will have the greatest impact on Chatham County Commission and Savannah-Chatham School Board redistricting.

State Senator Lester Jackson, D-Savannah.
State Senator Lester Jackson, D-Savannah.

Another view: Whiplash redistricting process gerrymanders Georgia in GOP's favor

This hypocrisy of the Republicans in what they call fair really has become an attack on separating the ruling class from the citizens. They have left us with less of a say in our state capitol and in Washington, D.C. We have been gerrymandered and relegated to the back benches and told to sit down and follow the Republican lead.

Next year, these seats will all be up for votes, including all the state officers such as the governor who has signed these seats into law. Also up will be the state senators and state representatives who gerrymandered these lines to protect their seats while telling the people of color that they have no say.

I urge you to study the maps and the issues. Then ensure that you are registered to vote and show them the door to retirement.

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Sen. Lester Jackson: Georgia's redistricting biased toward Republicans