(Stephen Allott) – On Saturday, April 2nd, I was grateful for the opportunity to attend a general public meeting on reapportionment and redistricting convened by the joint Committees on Legislative Operations and Elections.
In listening to the testimony from the members of the Legislative Counsel Bureau (LCB), clearly much thorough work has already been put forth on this project. The LCB staff are to be commended for their apparent efforts.
I listened intently to the testimony from the members of the public and read the written testimony of all the parties who were unable to attend the meeting in person, but whose letters were available to the public.
It was most impressive listening to the presentations by some of the parties who have made serious, good faith attempts at grappling with the matter at hand. They have obviously spent a great deal of their own time generating constructive solutions to an issue that is of major importance to us all. I hope their suggestions will be seriously considered by the committee.
However, it was somewhat disturbing to hear the eloquently presented testimonies of the members of the various organizations; namely Asian-American Pacific Islanders, Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce, Sí Se Puede Democratic Caucus, Mi Familia Vota, NAACP, and a lady expressing concern about redistricting of female-represented districts.
As an immigrant from Britain, who became a citizen, I do not consider myself a European-American British Islander. Nor, having been raised in Africa, do I consider myself an African-American. I consider myself an American.
Indeed, when becoming a citizen, the Oath of Allegiance required me to “entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty.” The oath does not require me to sacrifice my customs nor my culture. Indeed it is the addition of the customs of the various cultures that have so enriched the fabric of American society. However, implicit in the Oath of Allegiance, is that immigrants will adopt the values of these United States of America. Those shared values that have made this nation so great.
Surely our representatives, be they in the State Assembly, State Senate, or the U.S. Congress, should be elected based on the shared values of ALL Americans in their constituency and not a selected segment of the community based on national origin, sex, or race? Nor should legislative boundaries be drawn based on said factors.
Nevada voters will support a candidate who they believe to be the most competent in effectively addressing the issues that confront the electorate, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or sex. Indeed, the current makeup of the Assembly and Senate already reflect the propensity for Nevada voters to elect candidates who reflect their views and aspirations.
After all, elected officials are more than capable of dealing with the needs and concerns consistent with the diverse composition of all their constituents.
Therefore, I sincerely hope that boundaries drawn for the Assembly, Senate and Congress, will be drawn on strict adherence to the numbers, with sensible accommodations made for natural boundaries of districts like Mesquite, Indian Springs, and considerations for schools, which have hitherto been subject to illogical partitions.
To do otherwise would be a disservice to the voters of the State of Nevada and would seem to contradict the Founding Fathers attempt to form a “more perfect union.”
(Mr. Allott is owner of SMA Software Services, Inc. and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.)