Redistricting the Democrat way: Five state legislators for one town

The town is Franklin Park, whose 18,000 residents are blessed with two state senators, including Oak Park’s Don Harmon, and three representatives, including Oak Park’s Camille Lilly.

It’s in coverage of Harmon’s and Lilly’s town-hall-meeting tour in 2013 in my Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters.

A man asked [in a Franklin Park meeting on July 30] about legislative redistricting, by which Democrats had generously provided Franklin Park with three representatives and two senators, when one of each would have done nicely. The five, all present this night, represented some 35 towns, villages, and neighborhoods among them.

Such dividing up of communities — a by-product of ensuring Democrat dominance and a trademark of the Mike Madigan Era — neatly defuses any unified effort to pressure a legislator to oppose current policies. Divided as to legislative representation, a town is more easily ignored and has a harder time working up a head of steam to put pressure on lawmakers.

It was just such a head of steam that was to greet Harmon and Lilly in their next town hall meeting, on September 12, in the city’s Galewood neighborhood north of Oak Park, where they were to face an hour of sometimes raucous indignation from aggrieved citizens.

Coming up: The Galewood donnybrook.

Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters— is available in paperbackepub and Amazon Kindle formats.

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