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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Let's get behind redistricting reform

guest columnist Peg Maginn
guest columnist Peg Maginn
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Friday, February 17, 2017 05:01 am
It’s a bipartisan issue on which we can all agree. It was thoroughly studied throughout 2016 in a bipartisan committee established by our Indiana State Legislature. This bipartisan committee came up with a bipartisan solution to this bipartisan problem. Then the committee members voted by a strong majority in favor of recommending that solution to the rest of the legislature. Huh? That’s your response?

Yes, I did say “bipartisan.” No, this is not “fake news”.

Still stumped? OK, here it is: What is redistricting reform to end Gerrymandering (“the practice of manipulating voting district boundaries intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group”)?

Yes, my fellow Hoosiers, a bipartisan group of dedicated citizens, ably led by their Chairman, Republican Rep. Jerry Torr, came together and worked hard over many hours throughout 2016 to come up with a plan to reform redistricting to prevent Gerrymandering by any political party. They spent hours listening to experts, hearing testimony from many individual citizens, and examining what has worked well (or not) in other states. After listening, they debated energetically and respectfully. Then they proceeded to develop a workable plan to improve our redistricting process. And they did it without disrespecting one another, without obstinately clinging to any rigid party ideology, and without refusing to listen to others with whom they didn’t fully agree.

I witnessed some of these open proceedings in our magnificent courthouse in Indianapolis. And I was awed – by the people, by the process, by the place, by the privilege of being a U.S. citizen. I saw good government at work — by, for and of the people.

Our political process can be beautiful when it works. And it can work. It takes open minded, dedicated public servants, and it takes each one of us fulfilling our duty to participate, as well as encouraging and accepting the participation of all other citizens.

The Interim Committee on Redistricting Reform did its job. Now it’s time for you to do yours. The recommendation from the Committee in the form of HB1014 has now moved to the House for a committee hearing. Here’s your job: Call your state representative and tell them to support redistricting reform. While you’re at it, call your state senator too. It’s that simple.

Our state legislators are under daily pressure to fulfill the desires of special interest groups, lobbyists, and political parties. They need our help and support to fight for the interests and needs of individual citizens.

Help them. Call. Don’t know your district number, who your legislators are, or how to reach them? Go to iga.in.gov. Click the 3 lines at the top right side of the page to open the menu. Click on “Find Your Legislator”.

Enter your address and click “Search” to obtain the information you need (name, address, phone number, etc.). No computer access? Call 800-382-9842 for House of Representative assistance, and 800-382-9467 for Senate assistance.

And whichever way you choose to contact your legislators, please also take the time to thank them for their service.

Peg Maginn is a resident of Fort Wayne. 

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