David Simmons adds context: pairing two female senators into one district would be 'discriminating against them'
A one-minute phone call between Sen. David Simmons and the staff redistricting director was replayed in the opening day of the Senate trial Monday as plaintiffs tried to show that many senators know where each other lives and worked to protect each other when drawing maps.
The phone conversation, which occurred at 9 a.m. on Oct. 26, came in the midst of the Senate redistricting session as Simmons was attempting to draft his own alternative to a Senate map that was widely unpopular with several senators.
"With respect to the maps, going to go ahead and revise the maps to get what I would consider to be more aesthetic situation. I want Highlands County out of District 18,'' Simmons told Jay Ferrin, the Senate's redistricting director, according to the recording replayed before Circuit Court Judge George Reynolds.
"There's another reason that I have,'' he admitted, "and that is that I do not want two of our female senators running against each other because I don't think it's appropriate and I think that's the result of that. I don't consider that acceptable. So I want you to work it so that it looks better and those two are not forced into running against each other for no purpose whatsoever."
Ferrin, sounding bit flustered, responded: "I don't have any knowledge of where people are living. If you want me to separate Highlands County from District 18, just tell me that."
"OK,'' Simmons said.