I'm noting the volcanic level anger within elements of the GLBT community at the Democrats over the pace of the community's political agenda. While I'm angry at the Dems for different reasons and some of y'all within the GLBT community as well, Mrs. Roberts also didn't raise no fool either.
She raised a daughter who happens to see the big picture implications of the elections, and not just the "Save the Democratic Congressional majority" one that's all too familiar to us.
Remember when you peeps filled out those census forms earlier this year? Well, for those of you who aren't aware of it, that population data is what's used not only to dole out federal funds, but politically as well.
The initial population figures are being released to the states and the various municipalities in December 2010. That data will determine how many congressional districts a state loses or gains, and that will be in effect for the rest of the decade.
The states projected to gain seats:
1. Texas - (+4) (Current delegation: 32)
2. Florida - (+1) (Current delegation: 25)
3. Georgia - (+1) (Current delegation: 13)
4. Washington - (+1) (Current delegation: 9)
5. Arizona - (+1) (Current delegation: 8)
6. South Carolina - (+1) (Current delegation: 6)
7. Nevada - (+1) (Current delegation: 3)
8. Utah - (+1) (Current delegation: 3)
These states are projected to lose seats:
1. Illinois - (-1) (current delegation 19)
2. Iowa - (-1) (current delegation 5)
3. Louisiana - (-1) (current delegation 7)
4. Massachusetts - (-1) (current delegation 10)
5. Michigan - (-1) (current delegation 15)
6. Minnesota - (-1) (current delegation 8)
7. New Jersey - (-1) (current delegation 13)
8. New York - (-1) (current delegation 29)
9. Pennsylvania - (-1) (current delegation 19)
10.. Ohio- (-2) (current delegation 18)
Sometime in March 2011 the Census Bureau will release the final population data to the states, which will filter down to the cities. The population data will be used to redraw your congressional districts, your state house and state senate districts and your city council districts.
We're anticipating in Houston the data will officially push us over the 2 million mark in population, which triggers a clause in our code of ordinances that expands our city council by two seats.
Okay, so why is all of this important from a BTLG point of view?
Unless you live in Iowa, in which the redistricting is handed by a non partisan panel, whichever party in your locality controls your state legislature (or city council, etcetera) will control the redistricting process. The way they draw those boundaries can either help, hinder or neuter the prospects for additional GLBT community political representation gains.
Let's use Massachusetts as an example. It's projected to lose a House seat. If the Republicans by some miracle got control of the legislature and the redistricting process, and bear in mind the results of whatever map they come up with lasts for a decade, you don't think they wouldn't take the opportunity to draw Barney's seat out of existence and force him to run against another Democrat?
When the 2003 Delaymandering happened in Texas, liberal bastion Austin was split between 4 separate congressional districts. The six white Democratic congressmembers at the time were suddenly facing districts that were redrawn to be more conservative. Blue Dog Rep. Ralph Hall switched parties as a result. When the Dems regained control of Congress in 2006 that map probably kept six Texas seats out of Democratic hands.
They also redrew the Texas legislature map to produce a 120-30 Republican supermajority, but thank God it's 77--73 GOP for now. The loss of the Dem majority paved the way for the anti gay marriage amendment that fouls our state constitution now.
In Houston we'll be debating where those two new council seats will go, and you can bet the Houston Gay Lesbian Political Caucus will play a role in that process.
But there are other issues your ballot will decide besides the long tern implications of redistricting. We have trans candidates running potentially historic races for office in Oklahoma, Maryland and California who could use your help and votes.
Brittany Novotny is running against homobigot Oklahoma state rep Sally Kern. Dr. Dana Beyer is in a contested primary for a House of Delegates seat in Maryland. In California Theresa Sparks is running for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, while just across the Bay Victoria Kolakowski is running for a Superior Court Judge bench in Alameda County. If you peeps want to speed up the day that we see a trans congressmember in our lifetimes, these elections are major building blocks toward making that a reality
Congressional candidates are generally members of large city councils, state legislators and judges. We have to start consistently winning those races to be considered for the next phase of the political game. Annise Parker's route to the Houston mayor's chair started by winning an at large city council seat in 1997.
So yes, there's a lot at stake in the November 2 elections, and it's not just the Democratic congressional majority. Our political fortunes over the next decade are at stake as well.