Sumter Calls Dems’ Proposed Legislative Commission a Failure

LD35 Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter of Paterson

In response to the news about the specifics of the Democrats’ proposed legislative redistricting commission, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-35) denounced the composition as inadequate to the cause of a contemporary Democratic Party.

“Many of us strongly believe the redistricting commission is still missing a critical necessary voice on the panel,” said Sumter, a member of the Legislative Black Caucus. “Black women are a large and loyal voting block in New Jersey and should absolutely have a prominent position in the redistricting discussion.  In years past, we had just that a seat at the table that even included a member of the Legislature.

“This is really a failure to acknowledge the unwavering value of our voice in all discussions affecting New Jersey representation and residents,” added the assemblywoman from Paterson. “Therefore, as we do not have a seat at this table, we are bringing our folding chairs in the legacy of Shirley Chisholm!”

In 2011, the Democrats’ five-person apportionment commission contained two women: Speaker Sheila Oliver, who is African-American; and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez, who is Latina.

As proposed, the pending 2021 commission (which might not even happen next year with a delayed census count) includes Senate President Steve Sweeney, Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman LeRoy Jones, West New York Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, Middlesex powerbroker Gary Taffet, and Fairview Borough Administrator Diane Testa, who is said to be close to Senator Paul Sarlo. Sarlo sat on the 2011 redistricting commission.

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