Proposed districts bad fit for Chilton County

Published 1:54 pm Friday, May 27, 2011

The Alabama Senate passed a plan Thursday that would move Chilton County from Alabama’s 6th Congressional District into the 3rd.

This is bad for Chilton County, bad for its residents and bad for our future.

The bill, rushed through without debate, was proposed by Sen. Scott Beason, a Republican from Gardendale. It is also contrary to the district the Legislature’s reapportionment committee recommended last week, which would have kept Chilton in the 6th District.

If the district map approved by the Senate becomes final, Chilton County will see its influence diluted considerably.

Chilton County is currently grouped in the same district with all of Shelby and Bibb counties, as well as part of St. Clair, Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties. The counties make up a big part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan area. Anyone who has lived in Chilton County knows Birmingham and its suburbs are growing closer and closer every day as growth continues to follow Interstate 65.

Moving Chilton County to the 3rd District would put it into a crowded district with 13 other counties.

The move also wouldn’t be a good fit geographically or culturally. In fact, Chilton County would be at the most western edge of the new district. The district’s last two representatives, Mike Rogers and Bob Riley, are from Anniston and Ashland, respectively.

State Sen. Cam Ward, who served on the reapportionment committee, voted against the Senate’s bill, and vowed he would do everything he could to have the Senate-approved districts defeated in the Alabama House.

We all should do the same. The bill isn’t fair and will hurt Chilton County. The House will consider the districts sometime next week. We encourage residents to speak out and let state lawmakers know the move isn’t fair or acceptable.

“We Say” is the opinion of The Clanton Advertiser’s editorial board.