Madden Wants To Join Naacp In Opposing Redistricting Plan

January 15, 1992|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff writer

Del. Martin Madden, R-13B, wants to join state NAACP leaders and black legislators in opposing the governor's legislative redistricting plan, which Madden says is an attempt to kill his chances of re-election.

Madden opposes the plan Gov. William Donald Schaefer submittedto the General Assembly last Wednesday because it does away with a single-delegate district, 13A, for eastern Columbia.

The plan puts him in a two-member district dominated by Columbia's heavily Democratic electorate.

"They in effect decided to trample on minority voting rights for the chance of picking up my seat in 1994," Madden said Monday.

He has written to the Rev. John L. Wright, a Howard County Baptist minister and president of the state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Wright said he was pleased Madden supported his organization's position. "I think he has a valid concern that would be in accord with the NAACP as far as redistricting is concerned," said Wright, who said he agreed with keeping a single-member district that would consolidate minority voting strength.

Boyer Freeman, president of the county NAACP, said his chapter's governing board will discuss redistricting Sunday.

The governor's advisory commission recommended keeping District 13A, represented by Democratic Del. Virginia Thomas, whichnow has 26 percent minority population.

The plan Schaefer submitted combines the district with Jessup, Savage and the part of Clarksville where Madden lives to create a two-member district with 21.8 percent minority population.

The governor's plan will become law 45 days after its submission in the likely event that the General Assemblyfails to agree on a different plan.

If that happens, Madden will share a district with Thomas and all of the Democrats who elected her.

The proposed district does not include some of Madden's strongest precincts in Elkridge, which were added to a Baltimore County-dominated Senate District 12.

Thomas called the efforts of Madden, who is white, "a typical Republican tactic. They just want to shove all the minorities in one area so they can have the rest to themselves.

"It's obvious: What they're trying to do is set up sure districts for Republicans."

Madden says Schaefer followed a recommendation of the county Democratic Central Committee to create a stronger districtfor Democrats.

Committee Chairwoman Sue-Ellen Hantman said the new map was aimed at giving residents delegates with a less parochial view, not ousting Republicans.

"If, in the course of doing this, itmakes it better for Democrats, so much the better, as far as I'm concerned. Did we single out Marty Madden? No."

A coalition of the state's black leaders already has vowed to challenge the governor's Senate and House of Delegates district map in court if the General Assembly does not change it.

The coalition charged that the governor's plan shortchanges the state's black residents by as many as three senate districts and 12 delegate districts.

Madden argues that in a strictly eastern Columbia district, blacks could be in the majority among Democratic voters and thus have a good chance of electing a blackdelegate.

Madden also echoed charges made by other opponents thatthe new map crowds more people into county districts than Baltimore districts in order to preserve the shrinking city's clout in Annapolis.

That violates the principle of "one man, one vote" enshrined inthe U.S. Constitution, he said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.