State Democrats respond to redistricting proposal

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:26 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - This week, the Wisconsin State Assembly is scheduled to vote on a Republican proposal surrounding redistricting. State Democrats are responding to the proposal.

“We’re going to be continuing to fight to bring us truly independent, independent maps,” State Sen. Jeff Smith, (D) Brunsville, said.

On Tuesday, State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced a Republican proposal to draw new legislative maps ahead of the 2024 election. The bill proposed by Republicans is modeled after Iowa. The maps would be drawn by the Legislative Reference Bureau, nonpartisan staff who work for the Legislature.

In a statement about this proposal, Representative Loren Oldenburg, (R) Viroqua, said in part, “With over 5 redistricting cycles and zero lawsuits charging partisan gerrymandering or voting rights acts violations, Iowa has achieved the only truly nonpartisan process in America.”

This comes after Republicans previously opposed a nonpartisan redistricting plan put forward by Democrats.

“Sometimes you have to listen and you change your mind,” State Assembly Speaker Rob Vos said.

State Democrats on the other hand said this new proposal will not make a difference.

“Legislative Republicans have proven that they cannot be impartial,” State Senator Melissa Agard, (D) Madison, said. “We’ve given them lots of chances and in fact, in Wisconsin, we have gerrymandered districts on top of a previous gerrymander. It’s not working.”

Smith added that the Legislative seats need to be more competitive.

“I’d love to be in the majority but I’d be fine if I wasn’t 16 or 15 to 17 or 18 margin because I know then that we have to work together,” Smith said. “We do need to get to a place where we have that kind of a margin, no matter who’s in charge so that all the people in Wisconsin have a voice and are heard.”

The assembly is set to vote on this proposal on Thursday. Governor Evers has already come out against the plan saying it is “bogus.”