Redistricting Reform and Ending Government Corruption
Every time I open my Facebook feed in my phone there is a new story about how someone is in trouble at the statehouse because they are violating well established ethics rules. As we well know, this is an issue that transcends party and politics. We have seen both Democrats and Republican embroiled in scandal, most recently causing one to resign and one to be suspended. The suspension of a Representative hurts not only the individual, it hurts the constituency. They are left silenced and without representation. There has also been talk recently opining if this is a systemic, deep seeded culture at the statehouse, or just a few bad apples. I’m inclined to believe the former rather than the latter. The reason is relatively simple. It isn’t just one or two elected officials. It’s been about a dozen who have been caught, and party affiliation is not exclusive. That is what I would define as a culture of corruption. I don’t wear rose colored glasses. I don’t say this as a partisan. I say this as a concerned taxpayer and citizen of this district who believes fundamental ethics and culture reform is necessitated at the statehouse.
I am inclined to believe that this culture of corruption also plays a part in the radical redistricting known as gerrymandering. Once a politician has the ability to choose his or her voters rather than the voters choosing their representation, this allows a culture of unfettered corruption such as the one we are seeing in our statehouse to not only survive, but to thrive. Districts need to be competitive to ensure we are getting the best, brightest, and most passionate people involved in our government. Again, this is an issue that crosses straight through ideology or political party. In states where they have Democratic majorities in their legislatures, you better believe they are fixing the game to make it less competitive for Republican candidates. This isn’t about party affiliation. There is a solution. A pretty easy one at that. A 10 member, bipartisan redistricting commission equally divided by party affiliation, chosen by both the majority and minority leaders in the house and senate in a conference committee, co-chaired by one republican and one democrat. This is the manner in which this needs to progress moving forward, for all state legislators and federal representative districts.
Government corruption and radical gerrymandering should not be tolerated in any electorate. South Carolina can and should be the shining example of how we take a broken system and apply the fixes necessary to get government working again.