REDISTRICTING: O’Connor talks about proposed amendment

A small group of people gathered at the Washington County Fairgrounds Tuesday morning to hear former Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor speak about efforts to put a constitutional amendment for the state redistricting process on the November ballot.

O’Connor, a Republican who retired in 2023 due to an age limit for judges running for the Ohio Supreme Court, was the first woman to be the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

She spoke about the Citizens Not Politicians amendment at an event organized by the nonprofit organization Citizens Not Politicians, not too far from one of the many polling locations in Washington County where citizens were casting their vote for either Republican Mihcael Rulli or Democrat Michael Kripchak to serve the rest of the term left empty when Bill Johnson left his seat in the Ohio 6th Congressional District.

According to Citizens Not Politicians’ website, the constitutional amendment seeks to create a 15-member Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission made up of Democrats, Republicans and Independent citizens who “broadly represent the different geographic areas and demographics of the state” and it seeks to ban former and current politicians, political party officials and lobbyists from being on the commission. The website said the amendment also seeks to create fair and impartial state and Congressional districts in Ohio.

Ohio Congressional and state legislative districts are redrawn every 10 years after the U.S. Census by the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which is currently composed completely of politicians, namely State Auditor Keith Faber, a Republican; Ohio Senate Minority Leader Sen. Nickie J. Antonio, a Democrat; Ohio Senate Majority Floor Leader Sen. Rob McColley, a Republican; Ohio House of Representative Minority Leader Rep. C. Allison Russo, a Democrat; Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican; State Representative Jeff LaRe, a Republican; and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican.

Chris Davey with Citizens Not Politicians opened the event with a few words, saying that O’Connor would be touring the entire length of the Ohio 6th Congressional District, with the first stop being Marietta.

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