The (small) and loyal opposition: A report from Senator Kinnaird

Received via email, with a sobering prediction as to how Puppet Justice Newby will decide on redistricting.

Dear Friends,

The election is over and the present districts will probably not change for the next ten years. This is because of redistricting and the NC Supreme Court outcome that tilts to the Republican majority with the election of Supreme Court Justice Newby. Justice Newby was supported by hundreds of thousands of dollars from outside the state - most notably Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ organization which has an office in North Carolina and lobbies daily in the legislature.

While the Appeals Courts races are ostensibly non-partisan, both Newby and the Democratic-supported candidate, Sam Irvin IV, were promoted on a partisan basis. What is the connection to redistricting? Since Newby, who won, is a Republican, and the redistricting maps were drawn by the Republican legislature, the presumption is that the Supreme Court will uphold them in spite of the violation of every requirement made by the court’s last go-around in 2000, as a result of the Republican law suit against the Democratically-drawn maps.

In 2003, I sponsored a bill that would have created a nonpartisan process for redistricting, but it was rejected by the Democratic leadership. Of course, now we Democrats feel as irrelevant as the Republicans did for 104 years. But there is a difference: Democrats put some Republicans into positions of power - Co-Chair of Education Appropriations, which is the largest budget item, Health and Human Services, the next largest and other chairs of the Judiciary Committees, State and Local Government. There are so few of us - 17 at this point - but we will do our best to fight for the values and concerns of our constituents.

The Governor will make his mark by having 500 more political appointees than any Governor in the past. He has already advertised for some positions. I was pleasantly pleased when his aide called to say he wanted to meet with each legislator and would be setting up an appointment with the Governor-elect to discuss issues and priorities.

Oh. And I guess His Magnificent Presence isn't all that interested in reining in government after all. He's single-handedly filling more public sector jobs than any person in the history of our state.