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Smart Politics to Live Blog Conference on MN Redistricting

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On Monday morning Smart Politics will live blog a conference on redistricting reform in Minnesota at the Humphrey Institute.

Toward More Open Government:
A Conference on Reforming the Redistricting Process

Monday, December 1, 2008
8:30am - 12:00pm
Humphrey Forum
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

From the Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance:

“How are the boundaries of legislative districts determined? In Europe, non-partisan boundary commissions draw the boundaries. In the United States, state legislatures usually draw the boundaries for their own districts. Civic groups warn that legislators draw their own districts in ways to help themselves and their fellow partisans. In Minnesota, the process has the added challenge of not working over the past several cycles of redistricting. These questions take on urgency now because Minnesota may lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives owing to the state’s population size relative to that of other states.

The process to draw legislative districts is picking up speed in Minnesota. Leaders and citizens have questions about how the redistricting process will work, what risk Minnesota faces in terms of losing a congressional seat, and how other states draw legislative districts.

Toward More Open Government: A Conference on Reforming the Redistricting Process will examine the current process for drawing legislative districts, learn lessons from other states approaches to drawing legislative districts, and consider the risk of losing a congressional seat.

Center director Larry Jacobs will be joined by Michael McDonald of George Mason University, Minnesota State Demographer Tom Gillaspy, John Griffin of the University of Notre Dame, legislators, and other experts to discuss this timely issue.?

View the conference agenda here.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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