Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., has for years represented a congressional district that is decidedly urban. In fact, a district doesn’t get much more urban than Chicago’s South Side. Thanks to a new redistricting map drawn by Illinois’s Democratic-controlled legislature that brazenly favors Democratic lawmakers, in 2012 his district also will include the village of St. Anne, whose fields corn, soybeans, melons and potatoes are grown.
If the new map survives an inevitable GOP court challenge, the Associated Press reports, it could end the political careers of one veteran and four freshman Republicans. In addition, it places Democrats like Jackson in a new and potentially uneasy role representing constituents with whom they have little, if anything, in common.
“We’re too far away for him to have his own personal finger on this town,” St. Anne local Scott Rigsby told the AP.
In Kankakee County, which also would become part of Jackson’s district, there’s a concern that he’s not familiar enough with agricultural communities’ needs, which is highlighted by the fact that Jackson has previously supported environmental legislation that would increase regulation and the cost of diesel fuel and fertilizer for farmers.
“For a legislator who has not had an agricultural community in his or her district before, it would be a challenge,” said Kankakee County Farm Bureau manager, adding that he believes Jackson may well be up for it.
The congressman’s chief of staff Rick Bryant agrees. “We may have more in common than people believe,” he said.
(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)