Why Was Jack Franks the Only Democrat to Vote “No” on the Congressional Remap?

Political consultant Drew Veeneman prepared this 2012 congressional map for Illinois. State Rep. Jack Franks is certainly correct in saying it is gerrymandered.

I commented on State Rep. Jack Franks’ having criticized the reapportionment process, but voting for the terribly gerrymandered map his Democratic Party leaders concocted for the Illinois General Assembly.

The article was entitled,

Jack Franks Wants It Both Ways on the Remap

When the congressional map came up for a vote yesterday, Franks voted, “No.”

He reversed course.

The Sun-Times had this quote from this only Democrat who voted against the new map:

“It seemed to me to be blatantly gerrymandered, and I didn’t want any part of it.

“You look at how these districts were drawn to protect incumbents in both parties.

“It was just pure power politics.

“I don’t know who cut the deals in the back room.”

You see below the Chicago area map of state representative districts which Franks voted for.

Jack Franks thought this map was good enough to vote for. Note the worm-like extensions of state rep. districts coming out of Chicago. No gerrymandinger there. No, Siree. Map by political consultant Drew Veeneman.

You can’t see any examples of gerrymandered districts there can you?

Nothing that snakes out into the suburbs to protect Chicago incumbents from the loss of two state rep. districts because the city lost 200,000 people over the last ten years, right?

So, it’s safe to conclude that Franks’ positive vote on the General Assembly remap followed by his negative vote on the congressional remap had nothing to do with firmly held principals.

I certainly don’t suggest that my pointing out his seeming hypocrisy previously convinced him to vote against the map that drew Franks out of Congressman Don Manzullo’s Rockford-based district and into a district that contains Joe Walsh and Randy Hultgren.

But there might be a reason that my political mind could understand for the flip-flop, the sudden Paul-like conversion on the road to Damascus.

I have been suggesting that Franks wanted to see all of McHenry County in one congressional district.

That would have given him what he would consider a “base” of over 300,000 people out of the 713, 682 people in each congressional district.

Remember that trip to Ireland with House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and other political notables.

That was when Franks was still being coy about running for Governor.

I figured he had cut a deal to run for re-election as state representative in return for a McHenry County-based congressional district.

Shorty thereafter, Franks withdrew from the governor’s race, giving the story to the Northwest Herald.

Only the Galesburg paper noticed.

The U.S. Capitol as seen in 1983.

Talk turned to Congress after Joe Walsh’s narrow 8th District victory over Melissa Bean, someone whom Franks campaigned door-to-door for.

Made sense to me.

Madigan would create a district in which Franks would stand a good chance and there’s a win-win for Madigan and Franks.

Pretty good sources have told me that the relationship between Franks and Madigan are not so hot.

So a favorable congressional map would make Franks happy. He would have a chance for advancement and, at the same time, get out from under the stultifying dominance that Madigan has asserted since Lee Daniels’ lost the Speakership in 1997.

And Franks’ leaving the Illinois House would please Madigan. He wouldn’t have to worry about what Franks was going to do next.

Franks has been acting like he was preparing a run that included the southeaster part of McHenry County.

Jack Franks and Living Waters Lutheran Church Pastor Carol Gates. Photo from a Franks’ press release from which the First Electric Newspaper wrote a story.

First Electric Newspaper featured a photo of Franks and Living Waters Lutheran Church Pastor Carol Gates in a short article telling of Franks’ having invited her to give the invocation prior to session in March of this year.  (Franks doesn’t send his press releases to McHenry County Blog.)

That is way, way out of his 63rd legislative district.

And Franks was soliciting campaign contributions in Algonquin Township for a breakfast fundraiser.

Not only was a mailing sent, but follow-up phone calls were made.

Algonquin Township is farther away from Franks’ district than the Living Waters Lutheran Church.

So, why was Jack Franks the only Democrat to vote against the congressional reapportionment map his Speaker put together?

I think it was because Madigan refused to give Franks what he wanted—a congressional district containing all of McHenry County.

Instead of acceding to Franks’ wishes and ambition, Madigan split off the 88,389 people living in Algonquin Township.

Apparently no one was in the “back room” looking out for Jack Franks’ interests, so he voted, “No.”


Why Was Jack Franks the Only Democrat to Vote “No” on the Congressional Remap? — 2 Comments

  1. Apparently Franks was not as an effective lobbyist as the Chinese. In the each IL state Senate and state House proposed maps, Chinatown has been consolidated to one legislative district — 2nd District in the House and 1st District in the Senate.

    Did SB3976 (Redistricting Transparency and Public Participation Act), signed by Quinn 3/7/11, result in meaningful changes to the redistricting process?

    Well, there was little lead time between the announcement of the public redistricting meetings, and the actual meeting dates.

    It will be interesting to compare IL to CA maps, to determine if California has figured out a better way to redistrict.

    California passed Proposition 20 (California Congressional Redistricting Initiative) on Nov 2, 2010.

    As a result a 14-member independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission was created.

    In California a petition which gets enough signatures is placed on the election ballot as a Proposition.


    The Commission will release draft district maps on June 10th. Following the maps’ release the Commission will hold a series of public input hearings around the state to receive the public’s feedback on the maps. The Commission will also be accepting public comment by e-mail, fax, and mail.

    Apparently there are Federal and State laws governing redistricting. I am not aware of a summary document.

    Redistricting Law 2010 by The National Conference of State Legislatures

    The book’s description states:

    “Every 10 years, following the U.S. census, all local, state and federal election districts must be re-mapped to account for a growing and mobile population. State legislatures are largely responsible for conducting the constitutionally mandated redistricting of U.S. House and state legislative districts. During the past four decades, federal and state laws governing the redistricting process have expanded dramatically.

    This fourth edition of NCSL’s Redistricting Law summarizes the extensive legal framework that governs the process of redistricting. It is intended as a practical guide to the law for those who are directly involved with drawing new maps or in analyzing or litigating district plans.”

    Illinois Constitution, Article IV, The Legislature

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