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OLBC members' statements after Statehouse Republicans testify on Congressional map proposals

November 3, 2021
Democratic Newsroom

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton), State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) and State Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Columbus) today issued the following statements after the Nov. 3 meetings of the Ohio House Government Oversight and Senate Local Government and Elections Committees, at which State Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) and State Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) presented sponsor testimony on two separate congressional map proposals:

“Ohioans want to see a bipartisan, 10-year congressional map that keeps our communities together and reflects the preferences of Ohio voters. The Republican maps released today fall flat. They are egregiously gerrymandered, unfairly favoring Republican candidates 13-2. They split our largest counties. They’re not compact. They pack and crack Black and brown voters to dilute their voting power. Ohioans deserve better than more rigged maps,” said President West.

During the respective hearings, Rep. Oelslager testified on House Bill (HB) 479, and Sen. McColley testified on Senate Bill (SB) 258. Both bills are scheduled to receive a second committee hearing tomorrow at 10 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., respectively.

“These dark and dirty dealings are unnecessarily prolonging a process that has already missed multiple deadlines,” said Rep. Galonski, a member of the House Government Oversight Committee. “We should be working to produce a bipartisan, 10-year map that reflects the diversity of our state. The map brought forth by Republicans today does the opposite. Ohioans are tired of partisan gerrymandering, and they made that clear at the polls three years ago.”

“In 2018, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted in favor of making our redistricting process fairer and more open in order to end partisan gerrymandering,” said Sen. Maharath, the ranking member of the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee. “Today, Ohio House and Senate Republicans released heavily gerrymandered maps that fly in the face of Ohioans’ wishes. These maps were created with zero public input and perpetuate the egregious gerrymandering that led voters to demand reform in the first place. Ohioans deserve fair representation, and it is clear that these maps will not provide it.”