Brown at odds with League of Women Voters

Organization disputes lawmaker's claim it does not represent her constituents

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Despite both an ethics and a criminal investigation, Rep. Corrine Brown is fighting in federal court to block changes the state plans to make to her district.

The League of Women Voters is one of the groups that is defending the changes in court. Last Friday, Brown criticized the league's involvement in remarks to a crowd of her supporters.

“The point is, do not disenfranchise the people I represent.  And the League of Women Voters don't speak for anybody in this room. Not one,” Brown said.

Several people involved with the League of Women Voters took exception to what the congresswoman said.

They said they have members in the old and new District 5 and their point is ensuring fairness. They said that for 75 years they have been in Florida fighting for fair districts and representation.

Brown said the changes in her congressional district made by the state are a direct effort to unseat her. She said the League of Women Voters, which is advocating for the changes, has nothing to do with the people she represents.

The local leader of the league, Angela DeMonbreun, disagrees with Brown.

She said she personally lives in Brown’s old and new districts and that the league is in every county in the state of Florida. She said the league has been fighting for years against the drawing of political lines to benefit one candidate.

“(We want) a process where voters, we choose our elected officials as opposed to elected officials choosing the voters,” DeMonbreun said.

The state league president said there are four Caucasian women, three African-American women, three Hispanic women and one man on the state league's board. DeMonbreun said the local group also has diverse members.

“We have a very diverse membership, hundreds of members and tens of thousands supporters in the state of Florida,” DeMonbreun said.

Mike Binder, a political science professor at the University of North Florida, talked about the role of the league.

“I think it's multifaceted. Do they represent Corrine Brown's interest? No they do not,” Binder said. “Their goal, from all that I've seen, is they’re big into fair districts, and they are very much against gerrymandered districts.”

The league said it does not take a stand on candidates and is only involved with education issues and advocacy.

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