Letters to the Editor

Bert Clere: Unfair redistricting

Regarding the Dec. 20 news article “ Court upholds GOP’s districts”: The N.C. Supreme Court upheld the legality of North Carolina’s gerrymandered legislative and congressional districts. But these districts remain grossly unfair, and they’re bad for both Democrats and Republicans.

In 2006, I lived in Asheville when Democrat Heath Shuler was elected to represent North Carolina’s 11th district. Shuler, a former NFL quarterback, was much more conservative than most Democrats in Asheville. But most Democrats voted for him anyway because they saw the need to compromise around a candidate who could appeal to conservative-leaning rural voters in Western North Carolina.

In a petty move, the GOP legislature removed Asheville from the 11th district and awkwardly placed it into another district where its progressive vote would be ineffectual. Shuler retired rather than face certain defeat in the new overwhelmingly Republican 11th district. The old 11th district was a rare case in which urban and rural North Carolina united around a compromise candidate who could balance both constituencies.

In a state as divided as North Carolina, we need more leaders like Shuler who can build consensus. Instead, our gerrymandered districts have given us a leadership in Raleigh with little reason to compromise or seek consensus. That’s bad for everyone in North Carolina. We need and deserve better.

Bert Clere