Voters to Decide District Guidelines

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Tallahassee, FL - Congressional District 11 starts in north Tampa, runs south to Bradenton, and even includes south St. Petersburg. District 16 is a claw-shaped district and includes Jupiter and Wellington but runs all the way to the West coast. District 4 starts in Jacksonville and ends in eastern Tallahassee, which is where we met Maria Patel.

Reporter: “Have you ever met your congressman?”
Patel: “No.”
Reporter: “Do you know who he is?”
Patel: “No.”

Marie’s house here is 162 miles from her congressman’s office in Jacksonville, 105 miles from his office in Lake City. Yet she is just 6 miles from the state capital.

“Maybe he doesn’t know what’s going on in Tallahassee,” Patel said.

Voters will decide on two amendments in November over whether to restrict politicians ability to draw districts. Fair Districts Florida just launched a tv spot to encourage a yes vote.

“Year after year politicians get reelected, protected by district lines they’ve drawn up in back room deals.”

But opponents, including two sitting congress people and the former secretary of state, are fighting back.

“The proposed amendments are not realistic,” former Secretary of State Kurt Browning said. “They are contradictory as well as untested.”

But Carole Fiore, who lives in District 4, says she’d like her congressman closer than a hundred and sixty miles.

“We don’t really have somebody that understands our community, our area,” Fiore said.

The amendments require a 60 percent vote for approval.

The NAACP is in favor of the two amendments, but a former Executive Director, Benjamin Chavis, aid he was opposed to Amendments 5 and 6.

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