Contact:

Azmain Ashraf

azmain@kansasdems.org

 

August 10, 2021

 

ICYMI: REDISTRICTING COMMITTEE HEARS DIRECTLY FROM KANSANS

Kansas Reflector: Kansans ask lawmakers to ‘put aside politics’ at launch of redistricting tour. (August 9, 2021)

  • “I struggled to understand how we can recommend fair maps or what we think you should do before the census data is even released. The impulse is going to be, because we have a supermajority in the state Legislature, that we can just kind of ignore Governor’s Kelly’s veto and just push whatever maps we want. But I hope we do make an effort to try to stay as bipartisan as we can to come up with maps that make everybody happy through the process.”
  • “This is the most inconvenient time for people to be here. It is not open and transparent, as you have just stated. If it was, there would be more meetings, and there would be many more opportunities for other citizens to be here. I think this was very inconvenient, and I think it was done, perhaps, purposefully.” 
  • “You are smart people. You know what the right thing is to do. I ask you to put aside politics and do the right thing for everybody in Kansas and make sure there is fair representation. Yes, you have the power to have a very biased representation, but please think about the country and think about the citizens of Kansas. And don’t think about right and left. Think about right and wrong.”

 

Topeka Capital Journal: Packed week of Kansas redistricting town halls kicks off absent Census data. Here’s what participants are saying. (August 10, 2021)

  • “We need a fair and nonpartisan process when these boundaries are developed. This breakup of our county creates challenges within our community of interest when issues arise that require attention at the state and federal level of government. Confusion regarding who your representative is and communicating with their office staff or directly with the representative tends to be problematic. Dividing counties and municipalities should be avoided because this dilutes the voice and representation of these communities.”
  • “Despite what we old timers were all taught in ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ about how bills become law, it doesn’t take a genius now to understand what this committee’s true mission is about: Creating a reapportionment and redistricting law (unintelligible) the ability of our minority party to be heard in our state Legislature, and dividing the current congressional district to make the state a single party state.”

Garden City Telegram: 2021 Kansas Redistricting Tour discusses process, hears from public at Garden City stop. (August 11, 2021)

  • “Garden City is a community full of working-class individuals who deserve to have a time where they can attend and also provide their public comment. Let’s make this process as transparent and accessible as possible. We are all Kansans, so let’s make sure every vote has equal power.”

 

Sunflower State Journal: Lawmakers urged not to break up 3rd District(August 12, 2021)

  • “I find it to be a shameful effort, one that is disrespectful of voters and devaluing of democracy. Politicians should not be picking voters. Voters should be picking politicians.” 
  • “Unfortunately, drawing a district that Sharice cannot win relies heavily on taking an Exacto knife to the KC metro area. Any plan to draw Wyandotte County into, say, the Big First congressional district would have a chilling effect on the African American voting bloc in Wyandotte county. Those of us living in Johnson County would know that a map breaking off Wyandotte County would have no other purpose than to break apart the Democratic voting base that northeast Kansas has become and, of course, meet the stated goal of drawing Sharice Davids out of a winnable district.
  • “We have to look at the core and try to keep the core together. With the population growth, there will have to be changes. I hope we can make sure that Johnson County and Wyandotte are properly represented. The core and the foundation of the district need to stay together.”
  • “While there are population shifts with the Kansas City metro region growing, it is vital that Wyandotte and Johnson Counties stay whole and stay connected in one congressional district. Since the modern era of redistricting began almost 50 years ago, these two counties have always remained connected with the same member of Congress representing them, both Republicans and Democrats.”

 

Fox 4 KC: ‘Gerrymandering is cheating’: Johnson County voters want fair redistricting, District 3 kept intact(August 12, 2021)

  • “It’s difficult to know what to say before the census data has been released. I or anyone can only speak in very general terms about our aspirations or our fears, thus thoughtful input is limited.”
  • “Last time around, the committee heard testimony over a period of four months, with the full census data needed to draw new districts fully available. The majority party intends to create maps that put their interest ahead of the interests of Kansans who want to make their voices heard. Simply put, gerrymandering is cheating.” 
  • “The 3rd District of Kansas is the most diverse district we have in Kansas. Fairness dictates that these diverse communities remain connected and represented by the same member of Congress, regardless of which political party they belong to. Splitting up Wyandotte and Johnson County would not be fair to us as residents here or in fact the rest of the state.” 

 

Pittsburg Morning Sun: Listening tour on redistricting visits Pittsburg (August 12, 2021)

  • “I would ask that in the future you hold additional meetings after the census information is available and people have a chance to review it. And in the interest of democracy and letting people be represented, have these meetings in the evening as well as the daytime so that people who work could come and hear what’s happening and speak in person if they wish, and I imagine many would.” 
  • “We use data to drive our services and outreach. Without the 2020 census data how can redistricting be ensured to be fair and equitable results for our region?”
  • “As part of this committee, you are not, or should not, be working for your district, your party, or specific candidates. Your responsibility is to each and every citizen of Kansas and their right to have confidence that their vote counts.”

 

KSN: House and Senate Committees in Kansas are having a redistricting listening tour. (August 12, 2021) 

  • “We want to make sure these maps are drawn as fairly as possible, as equitably as possible to make sure that certain groups aren’t split apart just sort of willy nilly.”

 

US News: Kansas Redistricting to Focus on Democrat, Cut Rural Clout(August 13, 2021)

  • “Legislators have shaded glasses when they look at this, every one of them. They’re protecting their own.”
  • “I know that you all know that manipulating maps is wrong. And I believe that you all know that the entirety of Johnson and Wyandotte counties belong together due to their connection to the KC metro area.” 

 

Shawnee Mission Post: At packed Johnson County redistricting forum, residents raise concerns about transparency, gerrymandering. (August 13, 2021)

  • “I’m retired and I work part time, so I can attend today’s session. But my friends and neighbors who are still working full-time during the day cannot be here. While they could submit written testimony, there’s something meaningful about face-to-face exchange.”
  • “Those of you on the committee wield a lot of power, and we trust you to use that power to the best of your ability. We are counting on each of you to fulfill the promise to revisit cities on the listening tour again in the fall. We ask that those hearings will be publicized.”

 

 

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