Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rucho: Only 'normal people' on committee

The Observer's Jim Morrill had a great story today on the launching of North Carolina's congressional and legislative redistricting efforts Wednesday. The process is always difficult, and it's not unusual to have lawsuits still pending over the shape of one district or another almost until it's time to redistrict again. The decennial U.S. Census shows population changes that require redrawing political districts every 10 years.

This year is different because for the first time in this state, Republicans will be in charge.  And state Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg, an energetic, passionate and outspoken legislator, is running the Senate redistricting committee.  I've always liked Rucho because, if you ask him a question, he won't beat around the bush. You get what he thinks, usually unvarnished and with the bark still on it.

Rucho has resisted entreaties from Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt, an Asheville Democrat, to add two Democrats to the committee -- Rucho's Mecklenburg Delegation colleague Sen. Dan Clodfelter, and Wake Sen. Dan Blue, former Speaker of the House.  Nesbitt said he and Sen. Charlie Dannelly, D-Mecklenburg, would drop off the panel if Rucho would agree to name Clodfelter and Blue to the committee, but Rucho declined, saying he wanted "normal people" on the committee, not more lawyers:

"For the first time in a long time, we're going to try to have normal people lead this," Rucho said. "The last thing I want to do is replace non-attorneys in this process."

Nesbitt, of course, is a lawyer. Dannelly is not. (His resignation from the committee was announced at mid-morning Thursday, so there's a vacancy.) Both Clodfelter and Blue are lawyers, and they are regarded as among the best legislative technicians.

Rucho's reasoning for not putting them on the committee shows you just how far North Carolina has come in the last half-century.  When a Massachusetts-born dentist with a New England accent such as Bob Rucho can get away with saying he wanted "normal people" on the committee, you know that we have grown in many ways to accommodate views, political and otherwise, that once would have been regarded in some precincts of the Tar Heel state as either outlandish or, as they say Down East, not from around here.

You may or you may not like what the Republicans are doing in the General Assembly, but by golly they have livened the place up and given folks something to talk about.

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Anonymous said...

But how many jobs will redistricting make? Republicans keep focusing on things like redistricting that has nothing to do with Jobs.


Anonymous said...

If only normal people cn be on the Committee then that eliminates Rucho from consideration.

Anonymous said...


The United States Constitution requires that redistricting be carried out every ten years.

Anonymous said...

Since when is a prosthodontist a normal person?