Vote yes on Amendment 3

Dear Editor,

My name is Kent Haden, and I am the State Representative for District 43, which includes all of Audrain as well as northern and eastern Callaway counties. This past week, I have received numerous calls asking for an explanation of Amendment Three and what my position is? So there will be no confusion, I strongly support a yes vote on Amendment Three.

A review of amendment One (Clean Missouri) passed in 2016 is necessary. Clean Missouri was a constitutional initiative petition that received enough signatures to be put on the ballot and did not go through the legislative process. The groups, that worked to get the signatures were National Education Association (the largest teacher union in the state), Sierra Club (a large environmental group), and Planned Parenthood. The war chest came from out of state money. It was very well funded, and media tested for maximum effect. There were two parts one dealing with lobbyists and the other with redistricting, which occurs every 10 years establishing districts for representatives and senators. Everyone wants less lobbyist influence, and this was not that controversial.

The real objective for Clean Missouri was to shift the power base in the Missouri House and Senate where the Republicans have a super majority in both. Another desire was to decrease the power of outstate voters. Clean Missouri passed by over 60 percent. Clean Missouri establishes a State Demographer appointed by the State Auditor, which is held by the only Democrat in statewide office.

Normally, election issues are handled by the Secretary of State. The criteria that the Demographer is to follow has competitiveness (equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans based on the last 3 presidential, US senatorial, and governor elections) as the major factor with districts of like interest and contiguous as the last two criteria.

That means to make districts competitive the like interest and contiguous would be overridden. The Demographer would have to gerrymander every district to accomplish the constitutional mandate. Here lies the rub that many voters did not take into account. The Missouri House has three Democratic representatives in out state Missouri (two in Boone and one in Green). The rest are in the Kansas City and St Louis metropolitan areas. The 43rd District was over 70 percent Republican in the last election. To be competitive it would have to be blended with a 70 percent Democratic district. This is the situation in all of outstate.
This would create either long spider districts reaching halfway across the state or districts that had parts of Audrain or Callaway with the rest of the district 100 miles away in St Louis.

A Clean Mo redistricting correction required a bill be passed by the legislature and was signed by the Governor which became Amendment Three. It will be put to the people in November (the other way beside an initiative petition to amend the constitution). I apologize for it being hard to understand. I personally felt it should have only addressed redistricting. I will assure you that redistricting is the objective of Clean Missouri as well as Amendment Three.

If you want your representatives to be from your local area vote yes on Amendment Three.

Kent Haden
Mexico

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