by Max Brantley
Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville, who voted for the House-approved congressional redistricting plan that moves a portion of Fayetteville from the 3rd to the 4th Congressional District, has issued a statement on his vote.
Redistricting remains up in the air, as I wrote last night. It seems likely it won't be completed today, but will have to wait recall of the Senate before final adjournment in late April. Action can't be completed on the House legislation without a suspension of the rules and Republicans oppose that. There's Democratic opposition as well, for reasons unrelated to the Fayetteville swap.
“Of all the votes I’ve cast during this legislative session, this one weighed on my mind more than any other. I listened to a great deal of feedback from my constituents, some who supported and some who opposed this bill.”
"Redistricting is a difficult and, unfortunately, can be a divisive process, but as lawmakers, we have a duty to the people of Arkansas to meet the requirements mandated to us by law. I spent the last severalweeks listening to input from my constituents, and although I may not have been able to answer, I took every email, phone call and message into consideration in weighing this decision."
Lawmakers have been tasked to address redistricting during this legislative session and with only one proposal on the House floor for consideration, I believe we owe it to the taxpayers to address this matter in the timeframe that has been set for us to do so.”
“After much consideration, this proposal is a fair plan that meets the mandated law for redistricting given the population changes in Arkansas and holds to the one person, one vote mandate passed down regarding redistricting mandates.”
"It's adoption could also create additional opportunities for Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas as a result. When Fayetteville seeks support for economic development and transportation developments that align with those priorities in surrounding cities, the region will be able to count on the support of two representatives in order to meet those goals. I hope we can work to this end on improvements to I-540 and the future I-49 corridor from New Orleans to Kansas City."
"There are also cases where Fayetteville has unique interests that may not be a priority to surrounding cities. For example, Fayetteville has been a long time advocate for alternative transportation and incorporating a complete streets concept to enhance our quality of life. With Fayetteville serving as the most populous city in a
Congressional district, we would have a Congressional representative tasked with the responsibility to represent those interests, and a unique voice to take those concerns to Washington.
"Fayetteville is the home of state's flagship university, and the 4th District is already comprised of numerous institutions of higher learning. The University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff, the University of Arkansas in Monticello, Ouachita Baptist, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University and others would enhance the importance
of higher education in our region."
"Change is never easy, but if anyone can prove the benefits of change it's the city of Fayetteville. Past and present leaders have turned this quiet town into a vibrant and thriving city that has received national recognition, and I will continue to work to see our community be a leader in the state.
"Fayetteville has continuously grown with incredible success from an economic, educational, and quality of life point, and I have no doubt that we will continue to do so under any circumstance.”