New Cobb commission and school board maps head to governor
The Georgia Senate on Thursday gave the OK to two maps designed to solidify Republican control of the Cobb County Commission and Board of Education.
Why it matters: Incumbents for both entities are drawn into the same districts and a new district is created for each map.
- The new school board map places Democratic members Charisse Davis and Jaha Howard into the same district and creates a new vacant seat.
- The same is done to the Board of Commissioners’ map, which moves incumbent Democrat Jerica Richardson into the same district as JoAnn Birrell, her Republican counterpart.
- A new County Commission district now straddles I-75 from Kennesaw to the Cumberland area.
What they’re saying: Sen. Lindsey Tippins, a Cobb Republican, said during Thursday's floor debate that the school board map was “fairly drawn.”
- “It tries as much as possible to preserve communities of interest,” he said.
- Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, another Cobb Republican, said the new county commission district is one where growth has exploded over the last 10 years and includes similar communities.
The other side: Sen. Jen Jordan, a Democrat who represents parts of Cobb, said the redistricting process has targeted three women of color: Richardson, Davis and Rep. Lucy McBath, who was drawn out of the 6th Congressional District.
- She added some legislators said Richardson “committed political suicide” by moving closer to Birrell’s post, making it likely she would be drawn into a new district.
- “She’s a woman of color that is the first woman of color to represent this particular district and then she just gets drawn out?” Jordan asked.
Along with Cobb, maps created by Republicans for Gwinnett, Athens-Clarke and Augusta-Richmond counties have also drawn criticism from Democrats and activists.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center, which held a media briefing Thursday with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Ethnic Media Services, says it’s deliberating on how it can defend activists and communities of color who they say have been attacked throughout the process.
- “They are putting in so much hard work across the state and our advocacy will continue and we will stay in touch with the press and the public about what the advocacy will look like,” said SPLC staff attorney Poy Winichakul.
What’s next: The new maps now head to Gov. Brian Kemp, who is expected to sign the legislation.
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