Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee

Cooper Introduces Bills to Reform Redistricting Process

Jan 3, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today reintroduced two bills that would reform the redistricting process. The bills would establish an independent redistricting commission, and allow for public participation in the congressional redistricting process. Together, these would increase transparency and significantly limit the secretive practice of gerrymandering.

“Voters ought to be able to choose their elected officials—not the other way around,” Rep Cooper said. “The redistricting process is rigged and we need to fix it.”

According to Cook Political Report, only 20 percent of House districts are considered competitive, a 56% decline over the past twenty years. After the 2016 election, the number of “swing seats” dwindled to a record low of 72 out of 435. More than 58 percent of House districts are considered extremely partisan, contributing to the paralysis in Congress in recent years.

A veteran fighter for transparency in redistricting, Rep. Cooper is sponsoring the bills in anticipation of congressional and state legislative redistricting that will occur after the 2020 elections.

Named for former Congressman John Tanner, a Tennessean who championed the measure for many years before his retirement from the House in 2010, the John Tanner Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act removes politics and partisanship from the congressional redistricting process. Under the bill, each state would be required to establish an independent, bipartisan redistricting commission to redraw congressional district lines once every 10 years that reflect contiguous communities. These districts would replace gerrymandered districts that protect partisan seats.