Fulfilling campaign pledge to address fair election districts for Marylanders
For immediate release:
August 6, 2015
Erin Montgomery firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today signed Executive Order 01.01.2015.21, establishing the Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission. The commission, which fulfills a commitment by Governor Hogan to address Maryland’s redistricting process, will be made up of four members appointed by House and Senate leadership, as well as representatives from policy research and voter and government reform organizations. Governor Hogan directly appointed seven members of the commission, all of whom were announced today.
“Maryland is home to some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country, a distinction that we should not be proud of,” said Governor Hogan. “For far too long, this political gamesmanship has stifled real political debate and deprived citizens of meaningful choices. Through the work of this commission, my administration’s goal is to reform this process and put Maryland’s redistricting process on a new path toward transparency, fair representation, and election integrity.”
National publications have listed Maryland as having some of the most “gerrymandered” congressional districts in the United States. By enacting independent commissions, other states have greatly reduced the politics and partisanship that comes with redistricting, resulting in more election districts being based on population, compactness, and natural boundaries.
As part of their duties and responsibilities, the commission will review approaches of other states that have established independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions. At least one public hearing will be held in each region of the state to allow Marylanders to submit their ideas on redistricting reform. In addition, a Web page, http://governor.maryland.gov/redistricting-reform/, has been established so citizens may submit their input online to the commission.
Based on the findings of the commission, a report will be submitted to the governor, senate president, and speaker of the house no later than November 3, 2015. Additionally, the commission will give a recommendation for a constitutional amendment on congressional and legislative redistricting that will be introduced as legislation during the 2016 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly. The commission will end on November 8, 2016.
Members of the commission appointed by the governor include:
Alexander Williams Jr. (co-chair) is a retired United States district judge, a former elected state’s attorney for Prince George’s County, and has been widely recognized as a prominent civic leader in Maryland and beyond.
Walter Olson (co-chair), a Frederick County resident, is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit research institution, and the author of four books and many other writings on law, government, and public policy.
Dr. Michael J. Goff is president and CEO of the Northeast-Midwest Institute, a nonpartisan research, policy, and education organization. He also serves on the board of directors of Common Cause Maryland, a leading advocate for redistricting reform. He is also adjunct professor of political science at George Washington University.
Christopher B. Summers is founder and president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, one of Maryland’s leading public-policy think tanks. A native of Baltimore City and veteran of the Armed Forces, Mr. Summers has an extensive background in public policy and economic policy research.
Ashley Oleson is administrator for the League of Women Voters of MD. The League of Women Voters has been a strong voice calling for redistricting reform and educating voters about the issue.
Carol Ramirez is a Georgetown University graduate and 25-year resident of Bethesda, with a wide-ranging background as a small business owner, banker, and volunteer and leader in local community, school, and church organizations.
Tessa Hill-Aston is president of the Baltimore City Branch of the NAACP, where she has built and grown partnerships between local government, businesses, and religious and community leaders. For more than 25 years, Ms. Hill-Aston has been a prominent voice for social change and equality, in the effort to build a better Baltimore.