The recent redistricting of Alabama resulted in the identification of eight members of the state Legislature who will represent Limestone County and its municipalities, and only one member will live within Limestone County. As implemented, this will have a profound impact and effect, and compound our problems regarding Home Rule. The ability to provide services locally to our citizens, as well as insure parity at the local level regarding receiving state funds, has the potential to be greatly hampered, degraded and perhaps even curtailed.
Redistricting will result in individual senators’ and representatives’ worrying about being re-elected along with the usual power party politics. Also, strong conflicts of interest regarding geographic areas of representation will influence how they vote. Required legislative decision-making processes to accomplish needed local actions will become truly a group grope and fail to be responsive to our local needs. Their pursuit and exercise of individual power will preclude required cooperation.
A legislator living outside Limestone County, say in the city of Madison, or for that matter in Madison, Morgan, or Lauderdale County, will have conflicting interests, and a built in bias to vote for initiatives which favor the local areas in which they live. An excellent example would be the city of Madison’s desires regarding annexed portions of Limestone County vs. the best interests of the balance of Limestone County’s population, or vice/versa. These differing interests will influence the vote of representatives who don’t live in Limestone County, which could include having local tax revenues being expended outside of Limestone.
To qualify for and run for an office at the local level, a person is required to live in that county or city, and that’s the way it should be and for the most part at the state level. As an independent voter I agree with some of our locally elected officials — redistricting as currently configured can have negative consequences for Limestone County citizens.
In conclusion, our state legislators talk about the federal government being too involved in controlling our lives, and I agree. However I might also ask: What is the difference between the federal government, and state government controlling our lives by not allowing us to take over our own control?
This leads me to agree “the free state of Winston” was an excellent concept.