Tuesday, April 23, 2024

NC trend: What you missed from the NC Tribune and Colin Campbell

Redistricting time again

Redistricting is back in the news thanks to a comment from N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore that the legislature might hold a December session to redraw congressional maps.

Moore floated the possibility in a conversation with WRAL News, but so far there’s no indication the Senate is eager to spend the Christmas season in Raleigh looking at maps.

A December redistricting session would make a lot of sense if Democrats manage to take the majority in one or both chambers. But barring major changes in the national political landscape, Republicans are expected to expand their numbers. 

If the 2023 legislative balance of power is unchanged, it might be just as easy to wait until the new year to tackle redistricting. But if lawmakers are indeed in a hurry to get the job done, it’s likely because the inevitable lawsuits can take months (if not years) to resolve, and they want a final court ruling before candidate filing would begin in December 2023.

Senate leader Phil Berger cited that as a possible reason to get a head start. Moore told me he feels strongly that the current legislature that was elected in 2020 ought to finish the job of redistricting before newcomers take office.

A December redistricting session could also end up turning two Democrats into lame ducks of sorts. If the legislature were to approve a congressional map similar to the one that was rejected by the N.C. Supreme Court, it would be unlikely that Democrats Jeff Jackson and Kathy Manning would be able to get re-elected in 2024. (They are expected to be elected in districts that mostly include Charlotte and Greensboro, respectively.)

Instead, we’d again see the west-of-Charlotte district where Moore considered running until U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn decided to switch districts under that map. If Moore tries again, Cawthorn is less likely to stop him. (Cawthorn lost in the GOP primary in May and won’t be in Congress in January.)

Get to know Rep.-elect Kanika Brown

KanikaBrownKanika Brown, 46, surprised some political observers when she won a Forsyth County Democratic House primary over the husband of the longtime lawmaker who currently holds the seat, Rep. Evelyn Terry.

The new version of District 71 includes the southern half of Winston-Salem, and no Republican filed for the seat, so Brown was effectively elected when she won the primary.

What are the current and past jobs you’ve held outside politics?

 I’m the president of Fuzzy Friends Pet Food Pantry, the president of the Morningside & Reynolds Park Road Neighborhood Association, a board member of Experiment in Self Reliance, and an assistant to a client with disabilities. In the past, I have also worked as a substitute teacher and teacher’s assistant.

If you could enact a single piece of legislation into law today, what would it be?

I would raise the minimum wage in North Carolina to a livable one that properly honors the labor of our state’s working families and provides the wages needed to make ends meet.

Where do you most enjoy taking an out-of-town visitor in your district?

Local restaurants and venues like a/perture cinema, as well as our beautiful natural environments like Salem Lake.

What is your favorite hobby outside work?

Among my favorite hobbies are enjoying music (especially at jazz concerts) and learning more about our world through documentaries.

Who do you most admire, and why?

I admire the activists from generations before mine, particularly the many who have dedicated their time and energy to mentoring me. Leaders of the women’s and civil rights movements, particularly in the Piedmont Triad, have paved the way for women of color like me to be able to serve in leadership roles and give back to our communities. I am determined to build on their legacy and forge a strong future for generations to come.

NC Tribune with Colin Campbell

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