Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish released the following statement on the passage of House Bill 319, the Congressional Redistricting bill.
“These new districts split up communities, carve up counties and drown out the voices of middle class Ohioans who want pragmatic solutions, not partisan politics. When a Democrat cannot credibly challenge a Republican or a Republican cannot credibly challenge a Democrat, and the only real challenge can come in a primary from an extreme wing of the same party then the system drives politicians to the fringes. Extremist policies are not good for Ohio or the nation.” Budish said.
Yesterday, Leader Budish and members of the State Government and Elections Committee held press conferences re-iterating the need to slow down this process, now that a map has been made public, and allow for meaningful public input amongst the more than 200 county, city and township splits that make up this map. The bill was passed through committee along party lines 26 hours after being introduced and placed in front of the full General Assembly for a vote today.
“I am deeply disturbed by the House’s passage of new Congressional districts without the openness and accountability that Ohioans deserve. After introducing a proposed map a mere 48 hours ago it has been railroaded through the legislature without adequate time for discussion and public input. Sadly, this has become common practice in this legislature. The Republican majority has irresponsibly rushed this bill through the legislature – in direct violation of their pledge to conduct the process in a fair and transparent way,” Leader Budish said.
Earlier this week, in light of the partisan, secretive method of redistricting that Republican House leadership has chose, and previously promised to avoid, Leader Budish decided to withdraw Democratic support for HB 318 which would change the primary date from March to May. The agreement to move the primary was originally reached to allow time for public input on Redistricting maps, which the Republicans have clearly ignored.