Sarpy County is going to be sliced into two different congressional districts. The question before the Nebraska Legislature is which cities get to stay in the Omaha-based district — Bellevue or Papillion and La Vista.
Several Bellevue residents and others argued Friday that Bellevue and nearby Offutt Air Force Base have more in common with Omaha because of their urban nature and historical ties to the metropolitan area.
Others maintained the same argument could be made for Papillion and La Vista.
The question dominated a public hearing over a Republican-backed legislative plan to keep the GOP-rich suburbs of western Sarpy County — including Papillion and La Vista — in the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District.
Democrats would like to move those areas into the Lincoln-based 1st Congressional District.
The Omaha district is the state’s only swing congressional district. Democrats argue that the GOP is trying to keep as many Sarpy County Republicans as possible in the Omaha district, making it easier to hold onto U.S. Rep. Lee Terry’s seat.
The GOP-backed bill will likely be voted on next week in the Legislature’s Redistricting Committee.
As it appears now, the measure has momentum. The bill won initial approval from the committee on a straight partisan vote.
If partisan discipline holds, the measure will likely sail through the Legislature, where the GOP holds a 34-15 edge in seats.
The hearing Friday allowed people from across Nebraska to voice their opinions on the redistricting map via satellite.
Several people who testified from Omaha accused Republican lawmakers of putting forward a map that maximized their political advantages.
“Bellevue is an extension of Omaha. I feel insulted you made this gerrymandering up …” said William Forsee, a Democrat from Bellevue.
State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha, main architect of the GOP-backed plan, disputed the idea that his map was gerrymandered. He also argued that the Democrat-backed map would have split Papillion and La Vista — two cities he said have as many Omaha connections as Bellevue.
Lautenbaugh asked: Is it OK to split Papillion and La Vista to keep Bellevue?
“People’s passion on whether we divide communities waxes and wanes on the map we’re talking about and the communities we are dividing,” he said.
File under Elections have consequences. Democrats want to get rid of Lee Terry. Democrats want to hold onto the only electoral vote they gained in Nebraska in 2008. Democrats want that electoral vote just in case Obama is not as invincible as they’ve been repeatedly telling us he is since 2008. They want it so bad, they’re going to try to convince you that Bellevue is more a part of Omaha than Papillion or LaVista.
Bellevue is no more an extension of Omaha than Papillion or LaVista. Anyone who tells you differently, or genuinely believes differently hasn’t lived in any of these areas, or they’re partisans trying to hold onto a valuable seat. I have lived in Omaha and LaVista. Trust me, Papillion and LaVista are more a part of Omaha than Bellevue. If I believed differently I wouldn’t post this, because I would want the second district to be as Republican as possible. I wouldn’t want to give liberals more ammunition. As it stands, the truth bolsters the Republican position.
Full Disclosure, I am a total tool of the right as some individuals have posted on the net. I want to keep Lee Terry as my Congressman, and I want to hopefully dilute and defeat that one electoral embarrassment that occurred in 2008. Will Democrats admit to as much? They will not. They will tell you that they’re centrists that are merely cooncerned that Republicans are “gerrymandering up”, or that “Republican lawmakers of putting forward a map that maximized their political advantages.” They will probably tell you that they’re just concerned citizens who want to stop Republicans from bullying or exerting some kind of facist something or other on the rest of us. As my four year old nephew would say: “Bullhonkey!” If Democrats had a majority in the legislature, they would vote the exact opposite and inflict their gerrymandering on us Republican complainers would accuse “Democrat lawmakers of putting forward a map that maximized their political advantages.” Elections have consequences.