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Week Of Meetings For Panel Drawing District Lines Underway

Keith Faber

The panel of lawmakers that will draw new district lines for Ohio’s representatives and senators in the Statehouse held its first two meetings Monday in Cleveland and Youngstown, with eight more scheduled throughout the state this week. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports while there are no maps for people to offer input on, there was plenty of testimony on what they want them to look like.

The meetings brought out past and current political candidates and aongtime activists, among others. Most like Kathleen Gage wanted maps with more Democratic representation, including Kathleen Gage.

“Whatever Ohio is, we are not a 76% Republican, 24% Democrat state, which is the current configuration of the Ohio Senate.”

Under the maps drawn by Republicans in 2011, there are GOP supermajorities in the Statehouse and Republicans dominate 12-4 in the Ohio Congressional delegation. However, conservative Tom Heck, who was called out for not wearing a mask, felt left out.

“This audience is not reflective of Ohio as a whole. Who’s getting heckled? The guy who speaks out different than anybody else.”

Maria Cordaro is in the same anti-COVID lockdown group as Heck, and said that’s how she heard about the meetings.

““The only reason I know about any of this election is joining groups like Free Ohio Now, which is how I get most of my information.”

Bria Bennett is a Democrat running for a state House seat, and called out Republicans Gov. Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Frank LaRose for missing the meeting when they’re on the seven-member commission

“They show that they don’t really care about us. They just care about what they can get from us.”

DeWine was photographed at the Cincinnati Bengals training camp. A statement from DeWine’s office noted he was at the Cleveland Browns camp last week and enjoys supporting all of Ohio’s professional sports teams.

Several of those testifying before the members who were there said the times and locations of the meetings prevented more people from weighing in. And some said they hoped for meetings after the maps are drawn. The constitutional amendments that changed the map drawing process require three hearings after the State House and Senate maps are proposed and before the redistricting commission votes, and at least two after the Congressional map is put forward but before state lawmakers vote on it.

The remaining meetings scheduled this week are:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 24, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Sinclair Community College
  • Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., University of Cincinnati
  • Wednesday, Aug. 25, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Ohio University - Zanesville
  • Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Rio Grande Community College
  • Thursday, Aug. 26, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Ohio State University – Lima
  • Thursday, Aug. 26, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., University of Toledo
  • Friday, Aug. 27, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., University of Akron
  • Friday, Aug. 27, 2:30 - 5:30 p.m., Ohio State University – Mansfield
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