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TN Politics: "Punishing" Urban Areas Is Theme in Redistricting

Political analyst Otis Sanford says that while redistricting is always a politically fraught process, with both parties proposing maps that favor incumbents and move districts lines to tilt close races, Republicans have been more secretive with their plans this year.

Sanford predicts there will be little public input into whatever the G.O.P. finally adopts.

One likely outcome of fewer urban Democrat voices in the state legislature will be further dismissal of urban concerns.

State Republicans, especially those in rural communities, have openly scorned the Memphis community's removal of racist Confederate statues.

As Memphis hospitals were nearing peak capacity over the summer due to COVID hospitalizations, lawmakers elsewhere were working to remove mask restrictions in public schools, while also undermining health department efforts to vaccinate children.

In the midst of Memphis' record murder rate, Republicans passed laws that increased criminals' access to firearms and removed the permitting process for carrying firearms in public, which police say can lead to more dangerous situations in inner cities.

Sanford says "punishing" metro areas — and Democrats — by passing harmful legislation that is out-of-touch with the needs of urban residents remains at the top of the rural Republican agenda.

Copyright 2021 WKNO

A native "Florida Man," Christopher started in this business as a copy clerk at the renowned St. Petersburg Times before persuading editors to let him write. He moved to Memphis in 2001 to cover arts and entertainment at the Commercial Appeal. Since then, he has contributed to nearly every publication in Shelby County, writing features on everything from the Civil War to Civil Rights. Also, Elvis... a lot of Elvis.