WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — State Sen. Linda Garrou said the reason she’s retiring is due to changes being made to her district.
Garrou, a Democrat in Forsyth County, used to be in District 32. However, after redistricting, she said she has been moved to District 31. That district, which she said has a voter base that skews Republican, also has a Republican incumbent, state Sen. Pete Brunstetter.
“While I’m not great at math, I can count. I can count the number of democrats in the new district I’ve been put in, and that certainly makes a difference for me this year,” Garrou said.
But this could be a bigger issue for women representation in Raleigh. Garrou said several other women representatives have had similar redistricting moves happen to them this year.
“In the Senate there were only six women. Three of us–one Republican and two democrats–were double-bunked. You know it’s kind of a shame. We need women involved in politics,” Garrou said.
In the House, eight of the 22 Democratic women representatives were also double-bunked, or moved into a district with a Republican incumbent. So far, six women representatives have announced plans to retire.
Mileah Kromer, a political science professor at Elon University, said these retirements could have political consequences.
“We have seen that state legislatures with high levels of women representation typically sponsor more bllls that focus on family issues and women’s issues, so women do legislate differently than their male counterparts,” Kromer said.
However, State Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger said the changes were not based on gender.
“The charge that this was done in some way to punish or to particularly single out women is just not so. It’s something that is just a consequence of having to redraw the lines,” Berger said.
Redistricting takes place every 10 years when the Census is taken. The lines are redrawn so districts have similar populations.