Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Gerrymandering is a Poverty Issue

by Doug Smith
Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Senior Advisor on Interfaith Advocacy for

The Disciples Center for Public Witness

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, poverty is most apparent in areas like southwest, southside and the Eastern Shore. Recent estimates from the U.S. Census suggest that poverty rates are a staggering 14.9% in rural Virginia while cresting to 9.1% in non-rural areas. With these mammoth rural communities and the legislators they send to Richmond, one would reasonably expect that poverty-related legislation would be constitute more than the handful of bills filed so far. (Richmond Sunlight tag: poverty)

One can argue that the poverty bills we’ve tagged in Richmond Sunlight don’t include educational attainment initiatives, predatory lending caps, or other bills that would help low-income Virginians. But the overarching theme is this: legislators from poor districts who have the power to create the kind of conversation in Virginia that will produce meaningful, lasting change for their constituents are allowing the moment to pass them by.

>> Sign up for VICPP's newsletter and read more of Doug's article.

>> Read more about Redistricting & Sign the Petition

>> WaPo's Roz Helderman writes about our press conference

>> Watch NBC-29 (Charlottesville) coverage of the issue

>> Virginian Pilot's Julian Walker gets McDonnell on the record