Black Louisiana lawmaker condemns plan to eliminate his district, claims gerrymandering

Published: Feb. 8, 2022

By: Margaret DeLaney and Piper Hutchinson, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — A majority Black district in northwest Louisiana looks like the first major casualty of war in the redistricting special session.

Under a plan by Republican leaders, House District 23, represented by Rep. Kenny Cox, D-Natchitoches, would be fragmented and absorbed by neighboring districts to accommodate a new seat in New Orleans.

Cox, an Army veteran who formed a human net to catch people jumping from a burning Pentagon on 9/11, made an emotional plea Monday to the House and Governmental Affairs Committee to spare his district.

“I’ve been in the war, and I’ve had to do a lot of killing and a whole lot of things,” Cox said. “But this bothers me more. I have not been able to rest. Because we have a collective group, a historic district where people have something to vote for the first time in over 300 years.”

Cox was testifying in opposition to HB 14, a proposal by House Speaker Rep. Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzalez. Cox is not a member of the committee, so he, like other members of the public, filled out a card, waited his turn and took the mic to fight back against the bill.

“​​That was the most difficult decision of this entire map,” Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley and the chair of the committee, said about moving Cox’s district.

Stefanski said House members told him that if a district had to be eliminated, they would prefer that it be one represented by a term-limited member.

Read more at the Shreveport Times

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