published Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Chattanooga Reps. Tommie Brown, JoAnne Favors say merging their districts is the best thing

NASHVILLE — Chattanooga’s two state House Democrats — Reps. Tommie Brown and JoAnne Favors — agree that a Republican redistricting plan merging much of the black lawmakers’ legislative districts is the best thing for black voters.

The plan to redraw the 99 House districts is scheduled for a House vote today.

Brown said earlier this week that, in a meeting over the weekend, voters in the 28th Legislative District told her “they believe, as drawn now, it is in the best interests ... that we have as strong as possible voting African-Americans.”

As as result, they felt that folding black precincts in Favors’ 29th District into Brown’s 28th district “that was in our best interests because if you weaken that percentage then we stand to lose some votes.”

House figures show that in the new district, adult black residents of voting age will account for 60.84 percent.

“That’s what I’ve been saying the whole time,” Favors said. “We’ve never had two African-American districts so we don’t have the numbers justifying two majority African-American districts.

“So I’m happy to see a much strengthened African-American district that will provide younger candidates the opportunity to be successful,” said Favors, who is strongly considering running herself.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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