Too many risks, unknowns

BY State Rep. Bruce Sassmann, Missouri’s 62nd District
Posted 1/26/22

This week, I had the privilege of listening to Governor Parson as he delivered his State of the State address.

I’m encouraged by his positive outlook, and I’m pleased to hear about his …

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Too many risks, unknowns

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This week, I had the privilege of listening to Governor Parson as he delivered his State of the State address.

I’m encouraged by his positive outlook, and I’m pleased to hear about his plan to increase teacher pay and invest in rural roads. I was especially pleased to hear the Governor promise major investment in the Rock Island Railway corridor.

Our top priority this week was congressional redistricting. Every 10 years, after the Federal Government finishes conducting the census, most states are required to draw new congressional maps. Currently, Missouri sends six Republicans and two Democrats to Congress. Some of my colleagues have floated the idea of replacing our 6-2 map with a map that sends seven Republicans and one Democrat to Congress. At first glance, this might sound like an appealing option. However, after studying the different redistricting plans, I’m not convinced. In the opinion of this legislator, a “7-1” map is a bad deal for conservatives and rural Missourians. 

The goal of mainstream Republicans is to keep Missouri a strong red state. Drawing a new congressional map to dissolve Democrat strongholds in Saint Louis and Kansas City would dilute the voting power of rural Missouri and split up rural communities.

How well do you think someone from Kansas City will represent rural Missouri? Do you think a Kansas City politician would make rural voters a priority?

I certainly don’t think so.

I’m also concerned that a “7-1” map will be unsustainable over the next decade. A map like this would dilute conservative strongholds with thousands of new liberal voters.

In a bad election year for Republicans, watered-down districts could easily flip, and turn a “7-1” map into a “5-3” map. In a worst-case scenario, a “7-1” map could be sued and overturned by the court, allowing unelected judges to draw your congressional districts. I would much rather stick with a safe, “6-2” map.

At first glance, a “7-1” map might sound appealing, but there are too many risks and unknowns. I’m not willing to jeopardize our conservative, rural values based on untested and unreliable promises. That’s why the Missouri House of Representatives voted this week to protect our rural,  conservative representation, and sent a safe, conservative “6-2” map to the state Senate. 

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