Speaking of dumb things out of legislators’ mouths, Representative Kevin Jensen (R-16/ Canton) shows his willful failure to understand redistricting with this criticism of proposed new legislative boundaries in Minnehaha and Brown counties:
Since 2011, northern Minnehaha County has been broken into two separate districts: 25 and 9. But the Blackbird map calls for combining the bulk of rural Minnehaha County into one legislative district that would include the communities of both Dell Rapids, Hartford and Moody County
And that would have as many as seven different Republican lawmakers — some with adversarial relationships with Senate leadership — vying for three legislative seats.
Meanwhile, in Aberdeen, the Blackbird proposal would split the state’s northeast population center into two separate districts while absorbing southern Brown County into a legislative district that would extend west all the way to the Missouri River. District 2, which currently covers southern Brown County, would be relocated to give the Brandon area in southeast South Dakota its own district.
And some House members wonder if that’s all a recipe to rid the Legislature of a few social conservatives while protecting moderates.
“I’m just trying to make sense of why we would split these counties up for no apparent reason,” said Rep. Kevin Jensen, R-Canton. “It’s really hard to understand the motive” [Joe Sneve, “Redistricting Has Drawn Line Between Conservative and Moderate Republicans in Pierre,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2021.10.25].
The reason for these boundaries is entirely apparent and easy to understand: Minnehaha and Brown counties have too many people for one legislative district and thus must be divided into multiple districts. Aberdeen itself has to be split into two districts, and the surrounding counties are so sparse that including somewhat more populous rural Brown in their districts helps reduce the sprawl of those rural districts. Down in Minnehaha, combining the rural areas outside of Sioux Falls creates a logical district with shared interests while allowing for the Sioux Falls–Brandon metroplex to maintain more integral urban districts with common interests.
When Jensen cries no apparent reason! about the proposed changes, he’s really saying that there are darn good reasons for changing the maps, reasons that serve the public interest, and the only reasons he has to oppose those changes are selfish reasons that wouldn’t pass muster with a majority of voters. Demonstrating contemporary Republican “thinking”, Jensen can’t rationally rebut the proposed redistricting, so he has to pretend there is nothing to rebut.
Redistricting should be absolutely blind to the personal interests of Jensen, his fellow radical right-wingers, and incumbents and candidates of any political stripe. We draw these maps for the people to have fair and accessible representation, not for certain politicians to keep their part-time jobs in Pierre. If people move, the maps must move with them, not stay in the same place like Jensen and his selfish friends.