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More Ohioans Speak Out On Redistricting Proposals

Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau

The Ohio Redistricting Commission heard from thousands of Ohioans. Some have written or called lawmakers. And a few hundred have shown up at more than a dozen public hearings to make their voices heard. Some showed up at more than one hearing. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports on what Ohioans are saying.

They came from all over Ohio in large numbers…people like Daniel Suvak and Christos Iano 

“Good thing you gave us late notice or you might have had to rent out FirstEnergy Stadium” 

“Lots of people have shown up here but commission members aren’t and that pisses me off” 

A few people, like Tom Hackt, said since Republicans have won nearly all statewide offices in recent years, and Ohio voted for Republican former president Donald Trump, the redistricting commission should adopt legislative maps that favor the GOP.   

“Republicans dominate. Republicans need to be represented by what they have earned.” 

But most of those who testified disagreed, such as George Bohan III and Carrie Coisman  

“Over the last 10 years, Ohioans have voted Republican 55% of the time but these maps would give Republicans 66% of House and Senate seats.  That does not serve the people of Ohio.” 

“Primaries shouldn’t be the general election.” 

“We are not picking between a fair process and a fair map. We voted for both, not one or the other.” 

Some minced no words about the maps they’ve been seeing so far. Here are Andrea Jagoda, Mindy Hedges and Connie Sheets. 

“There are no excuses. We are tired. You are not going to silence me for the next 10 years.” 

“This is not the kind of government you want to hand down to your children or grandchildren.” 

“Private citizens put together better maps than you did so either you guys don’t want to put together good maps or you are incompetent.” 

Reginald Williams, Erika White and Derrick Holmes were among those who spoke out for minorities and low income Ohioans whose voices, they say, are silenced by gerrymandering. 

“I ask that you to pay attention and make it your business to see the unseen.” 

“We are weary but we ain’t tired.” 

“Doing what is fair is not an act of favoritism. Rather it the radical act of just doing what is right.” 

Some moms with gay adult children spoke out against gerrymandering too - including Sue Dyke and Carolyn Hardin Levine.

“You sent my kids away. They’re not coming back. This is why I’m mad. Politicians have made it uninhabitable for young people” 

“I am the mother of five children and three have left the state -one because he is gay and does not feel safe here.” 

Crystal Gnau said gerrymandering is a key reason for Ohio’s brain drain.  

“It sends a signal to anyone who lives here, graduates college that they should leave.  It doesn’t bring good people and good jobs to Ohio because why?  No one wants to live here.”  

And Kristi Hadigigeorge, a young Ohioan, says she feels trapped, without a voice in Ohio’s politics. 

“I feel stuck here because you guys don’t represent my people. And you don’t give a shit. You don’t care.” 

But some who spoke, like Susan Cavanaugh, warned the commission if they approve gerrymandered maps, voters like her will take action. 

“My hope at this point is there are already people working on the new constitutional amendment that will remove the responsibility of redistricting from the governor, the legislature, elected officials, politicians, lobbyists and political parties. It’s time to end government of the politicians, by the politicians, for the politicians.” 

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