Black senators: Diversity needed in redistricting

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Several black senators say they’re unhappy that Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant appointed three white Republican men as negotiators for Mississippi redistricting.

Democratic Sens. Alice Harden of Jackson and Willie Simmons of Cleveland are among the Legislative Black Caucus members who said Friday that diversity should be considered in a state where 37 percent of the residents are black.

Bryant says two of the three negotiators are leaders of committees that have been working on legislative redistricting. Terry Burton of Newton chairs the Elections Committee, and Billy Hewes of Gulfport chairs the Rules Committee. Bryant says he chose Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville as the third negotiator because McDaniel is an attorney with experience in federal court.

Several other senators, including Democrats, are attorneys with federal court experience.