Kaptur: 9th District ‘shredded, hacked’ by proposed redistrictingWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucas County, Toledo and the 9th Congressional District will be dramatically redefined by the congressional redistricting plan announced Sept. 13 by the Republican majority in Ohio’s Senate and House.
Under the proposed plan, Lucas County and Toledo would be represented by three congressional districts and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s 9th District would change dramatically.
“They shredded the 9th District. It’s an affront to our community, being hacked into parts. It’s a classic example of the worst kind of gerrymandering. They certainly don’t respect our district,” Kaptur said about the plan proposed by Ohio Republicans.
Based on the 2010 Census, Ohio’s representation in Congress was reduced from 18 to 16 seats. Ohio’s 16 districts must have as equal a number of residents as possible with a target population of 721,032.
The congressional redistricting plan would give the Republicans 12 of the 16 seats in Ohio.
Unlike some state redistricting commissions, Ohio’s is not bipartisan; four of the five current members are Republicans.
The plan was developed by the 2011 Ohio Apportionment Board that is comprised of Gov. John Kasich, State Auditor David Yost, Secretary of State Jon Husted and State Senator Tom Neihaus, all Republicans, with Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish.
The congressional redistricting plan, known as House Bill 319, was passed by the Ohio House on Sept. 15. Democrat Rep. Michael Ashford voted against the bill.
Kaptur said Republicans are rushing the plan through with very little chance for citizen review or comment.
“They broke community lines 60 times in the latest redistricting plan. All they care about is protecting their incumbents,” Kaptur said about the Republicans who drafted the proposal.
Kaptur said it was a shame what they did to Lucas County, carving it up to be represented by three districts under the plan. Kaptur would continue to represent the northeast section of the county and part of Toledo.
The Lucas County Commissioners rejected the proposed congressional redistricting plan at a news conference Sept. 14. Commissioners Carol Contrada, Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon Wozniak, all Democrats, expressed reservations about the effectiveness and fairness of the plan.
“Toledo and Lucas County will now be a minority voice in all three of these districts. I’m sure that whoever represents us will claim they’ll listen to the people but we will never have a majority voice in Congress,” Gerken said.
Rep. Bob Latta (R-District 5) would represent the western portion of the county, which includes areas west of Reynolds Road, Maumee and Sylvania in District 5.
“I will have a district to represent and I see my district as one big family.
“No matter where I represent, it becomes a family with no Democrats, independents or Republicans, just citizens,” Latta said about District 5.
“I will be there for parts of western Lucas County that I represented in the State Senate,” said Latta, who graduated from the University of Toledo and has practiced law in Downtown Toledo.
Jim Jordan (R-District 4) would represent part of Toledo including the zoo to Downtown, parts of East Toledo, Oregon and southeastern parts of Lucas County in District 4.
“It certainly fails the community interest test at the most basic level. There is no community interest common theme between Urbana, Toledo and parts of Cuyahoga County,” Gerken said.
“This is a travesty to the citizens of Lucas County. We’ve been sliced up in such a way that economic development has been made more difficult and our community voice has been marginalized,” Contrada said.
“Access to your representative who understands the needs of the community is critical to its citizens,” said Wozniak.
Both Gerken and Kaptur pointed out that Toledo and Lucas County have had a cohesive representation in Congress since the Civil War.
At least two incumbent Democrats, Kaptur and longtime Congressman Dennis Kucinich from Cleveland, could be running for the 9th District in the primary election in May 2012. The first general election with the new congressional boundaries would be held that November.
“My plans are to run in the 9th District which could include parts of my home community and new areas further east. It will be very competitive,” Kaptur said.
The new 9th District would include a narrow band of land along the shore of Lake Erie from Toledo to the west side of Cleveland.
“We have to defend the territory to the north and its interests,” she said referring to the proposed new 9th District. “I’m looking for a used motor-boat to approach it from the water.”
Some reports have suggested that Kucinich may consider the new District 10 seat in the state of Washington, which gained a seat in the House as a result of the 2010 Census. Kucinich has visited the state frequently in recent months, raising suspicions that he may relocate and run for that seat.
Kucinich has said that he is committed to his current district in Ohio but does not know where he will run if it is cut, according to multiple reports.