Thursday, February 23, 2012

County Commissioner Taylor Says Single-Member Districts Would Result in "Extremists"

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Commissioner Taylor reveals the link between “extremists” and single-member districts, citing Steve Mulroy as a case in point.

Speaking to members of the Collierville Republican Club Tuesday night, Shelby Count y Commissioner Brent Taylor seconded the conclusion of two colleagues, Wyatt Bunker and Chris Thomas, that a Commission redistricting by the current model — four three-member districts and one single-member district — was more conducive to electing Republican commissioners than a system of 13 single-member districts would be.

But Taylor gave another reason for disdaining single-member districts. They allow for the election of “extremists” of one kind or another, he said. As he explained his reasoning, he cited as an example District 5 Commissioner Steve Mulroy of Memphis, a Democrat and the only member of the Commission currently serving in a single-member district.

Commissioner Steve Mulroy
  • Commissioner Steve Mulroy
“With single-member districts, you’ll end up electing members from the extremes of both ends of the political spectrum, “Taylor said, continuing, “I mean this with all due respect to Commissioner Mulroy, but he is the most liberal member by far of the County Commission.”

Taylor then went on with further analysis of his point, citing differences between the Tennessee House of Representatives and the state Senate and even concluding that, when he was a member of the Memphis City Council, he always looked up to the County Commission with its larger multi-member districts as being a more dignified, ideologically balanced body.

Bunker and Thomas were the scheduled speakers for the Club’s regular monthly meeting, and they agreed with Taylor about multi-member districts being better for Republicans, allowing for six possible Republicans on the 13-member body, than single-member districts, which, they contended, would produce a maximum of four Republicans.

Thomas acknowledged that he had relented on his opposition to single-member districts and joined eight other commissioners in voting Aye on the second reading for a single-member plan at Monday’s Commission meeting. But he left open the prospect that he could change his mind, reverting to his original preference for multi-member districts when votes are taken on a third reading on

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