In this newspaper, John “Jack” Danforth explained, from his point of view, how Clean Missouri will end partisan politics when it comes to establishing legislative districts.

As a U.S. senator from this state, he was not subjected to districts but represented the entire state. Also, as he wrote, he and Tom Eagleton (a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat) disagreed frequently, without animosity, and on occasion collaborated when what they agreed on was good for the entire state — from St. Louis to Kansas City and from Kirksville to Cassville.

But not so with gerrymandering, where the party in power attempts to establish districts that, it is hoped, ensure political continuation, to the point where many politicians don’t even need to campaign.

Back when I was a lobbyist in the state Capitol many years ago, the Democratic Party was the one in power, and districts were created that favored Democrats.

Now the Republicans are in power, and they would like to establish districts that favor their continued reign.

That is telling. It doesn’t really matter which party is in power: Gerrymandering occurs.

Clean Missouri, Amendment 1 to the Missouri Constitution, sets out to change all that.

Districts would be established by nonpolitical considerations, and the party in power — Republican — doesn’t like that.

As Republicans see it, Clean Missouri, which sets up districts that don’t favor any political party, takes away control and, it is hoped, makes elections more fair.

Again, it doesn’t matter if Republican or Democratic is the majority party in Jefferson City. Fairness in elections is not favored by the party in power.

Contrary to claims emanating from Jefferson City, the citizens of this state knew full well what was contained in Clean Missouri.

Nothing in it was kept a secret. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to The Kansas City Star to The Rolla Daily News to this newspaper and all dailies and weeklies throughout the state, the details of Clean Missouri were made known.

But, in Jefferson City, the Big Lie from the party in power is that when Clean Missouri received 62% votes, those votes were cast by persons who did not know what they were voting for.

Caleb Rowden, our Republican state senator and one who voted for SJR 38, which would undo major provisions of Clean Missouri, has come up with another BS notion, claiming that the process outlined in Clean Missouri would result in “crazy legislative districts,” as if we don’t have that now.

Speaking of Sen. Rowden, 71% of people in his district voted for Clean Missouri.

Who is it that he is representing — his party or his constituents? The answer is the former.

Bottom line: Republicans make up the party in power in Jefferson City, and they would like for it to remain that way.

IF SJR 38 gets on the ballot, vote NO.


About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

Ken Midkiff, formerly the director of the Sierra Club Clean Water Campaign, is now chair of the city’s Environment and Energy Commission and serves on the board of directors of the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center.

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