RIPON COLLEGE Professor Emeritus and Fond du Lac County Board Chairman Marty Farrell discuss gerrymandering with members of the League of Women Voters of the Ripon Area.   Tim Lyke photo
RIPON COLLEGE Professor Emeritus and Fond du Lac County Board Chairman Marty Farrell discuss gerrymandering with members of the League of Women Voters of the Ripon Area. Tim Lyke photo

     The word “gerrymander” is an amalgam of “Gerry” and “Salamander.”

     It was coined after former Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry in 1812 signed a bill that so contorted the Boston area of the state to benefit his own party that it was said to have resembled the shape of a salamander.

    Ripon’s 6th Congressional District, too, has been gerrymandered.

     Look for the district’s salamander tail, created by Republicans after the 2010 census.   

     It’s right there, dipping south and east past the district represented by Rep. Jim Senbrenner, R-Menominee Falls, into the predominantly Republican Ozaukee County as well as a far-northern portion of Milwaukee County that includes River Hills, the most affluent community in the state and among the 50 richest in the nation.

     Not since John Race won in 1964 has the Sixth District elected a Democrat to Congress.

     Since 1966, Republican guys named Steiger, Petri and now Grothman have had a lockhold on the district. While that might legitimately reflect the district’s partisan leanings, it could be an indicator of something else afoot.  

     The Ozaukee County salamander tail pretty much seals the deal for assuring a Democrat can’t win in this area.

     If you’re a Democrat, this is bad news.

     If you’re a Republican, this also is bad news.   

     That’s because a party or candidate should win based on the strength of his or her vision, ideas and enthusiasm, rather than a stacked deck that assures another’s loss. ...

     Thirteen states are removing redistricting maps from legislative purview.

     Wisconsin, too, should consider adopting an apolitical advisory board, which Iowa adopted in 1980 in a nearly unanimous vote at a time when Republicans held majorities in both of its chambers as well as the governorship. ...

     It’s time to remove redistricting from the dirty paws of the foxes guarding the henhouses.                                                                            — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the Sept. 7, 2017 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.