In Zanesville yesterday at the second of five scheduled public hearings on congressional redistricting State Rep. Kathleen Clyde stressed the importance of public input and openness in the process. Excerpts of the article by Brian Gadd of the Zanesville Times Recorder follow:
“Members of the Ohio House and Senate committees tasked with looking at Congressional Redistricting conducted a joint hearing Wednesday at the Ohio University-Zanesville/Zane State College Campus Center.
“Ohio is losing two of its 18 Congressional seats because of population shifts and likely will be taken from the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas.
“Only two people came to speak to members of the House State Government and Elections Subcommittee and Senate Select Committee on Redistricting because of a lack of publicity. The Times Recorder learned of the 3 p.m. meeting via an email shortly beforehand …Robert Brems Sr., of Coshocton, said he didn’t know about the meeting until Wednesday morning.
“The committees will make three more stops around the state — today in Cleveland and Aug. 2 in Lima and Cincinnati — in an effort to collect public input on the redistricting process.
“’Voters should be engaged in this process and it’s unfortunate not many people knew about this hearing,’ said Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Democrat from Kent representing the 68th legislative district. ‘But this is just stage 1 of many stages. Let’s hope this openness continues throughout the process.’
“Brems pitched a Congressional map he drew up…
“Brems said he became interested in tackling the redistricting process for himself in April, and he created his map based on the changing populations.
“He said he was worried about the ‘political shenanigans’ likely to occur in the state’s process which would further gerrymander districts to create or save ‘safe’ House districts for certain politicians.
“Allowing the public to have their redistricting ideas considered ‘would take a lot of animosity out of the process.’
“He told the committee his plan was published in the Coshocton Tribune on May 1, and he sent copies to Gov. Kasich and Secretary of State Jon Husted…
“But committee members Rep. Tom Letson, a Democrat from Warren, and Rep. Vernon Sykes, a Democrat from Akron, lauded Brems’ efforts.
“’I like the idea of the public submitting plans, rather than the public’s idea of back-room deals being done,’ she said, in regard to Brems’ map and the announcement of redistricting competitions.
Read the full article here.