Last week Gov. Nathan Deal signed the state House and Senate legislative district maps, and by the time you read this, he may have also signed the congressional maps which add a new 14th district.
Lumpkin County is in the center of that new district, which will continue to be the 9th Congressional District.
The new 14th Congressional District will be the Northwest corner of Georgia.
State House District 9, which I have been representing for the past 11 years, looks like the first draft redistricting I wrote about a few weeks ago.
I have all of Lumpkin County, most of Dawson County except Big Canoe, and the Yellow Creek precinct in Hall County adjoining Lumpkin.
Over the past few weeks I have tried to explain that the maps would be fair, sensible and constitutional. They will be based on the 2010 Census data and the requirements placed on the General Assembly by the Justice Department. I believe the maps we have produced have accomplished that, and I am proud of the work that went into them.
I am not proud of the Minority Party leadership in the House. I talked with several Minority Representatives who were happy with the maps, but would not vote for them because of the threats from their leadership. My recent columns have covered this.
As we debated the redistricting process and outcome, I could not help but remember Zell Miller's accounts of his time in the U.S. Senate "A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat."
He led the way for a few Democrats to support President George Bush's education reform and tax-cuts. We can be proud that Speaker of the House David Ralston, like Senator Miller, did not give in to the clamoring of the Democratic leadership.
When signing the House and Senate maps, Deal said: "After all the shenanigans we saw 10 years ago with multimember districts and outrageous gerrymandering, we have upheld our vow to keep communities together ... The maps also pass the ‘optics test,' meaning that a casual viewer could look at the districts and tell they make sense."
The proposed Congressional map passed the House Aug. 25 and is now in the Senate.
The new 9th Congressional District will represent the highest elected officials in our state: Governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House and commissioner of agriculture.
Congressman Tom Graves will be running in the new 14th Congressional District next year. The 9th Congressional District will be an open seat during next year's election; however, Tom Graves will still represent us until January 2013. It will be up to us to elect someone who believes in our area and will support our interests.
As I have stated in previous articles, redistricting is a numbers game. Like it or not, Georgia has considerably more people voting for Republicans than Democrats, and more of those voting Republicans live above the gnat-line now than in 2000.
This population shift created the need to shift more congressional districts. Those districts in south Georgia will become geographically larger while those in north Georgia will become geographically smaller.
The Republicans are being accused of drawing maps to eliminate white Democrats.
John Barrow, 12th District, is the sole remaining white Democratic Congressman from the Deep South.
What happened to the white Democrats who used to represent voters from South Carolina to Texas?
They, like Zell Miller, refused to keep their left-turn signals on. It isn't the Republicans who have eliminated white Democrats; it is the black Democrats who have changed the direction of their party from conservatism to ultra liberalism.
One reason the Republicans have the majority in the General Assembly is because a large number of white conservative Democrats changed parties.
Eight south Georgia Republicans will be paired against each other in the next election. That really hurts. These are our friends, and four of the eight will not return; but redistricting is a numbers game and those areas have too little population.
We have done our best to be fair, sensible and constitutional. I believe that Lumpkin and Dawson counties fared well in both the State and Congressional maps.
Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 689 N. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533; phone (706) 864-6589; e-mail email@example.com. Or contact Gerald Lewy at (706) 344-7788.