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Oregon Republicans urge transparent, nonpartisan approach to redistricting

Once-a-decade requirement redraws House, Senate district boundaries

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Republican members of the Oregon Legislature's redistricting committees said Monday they are strongly advocating for a transparent and nonpartisan approach to redistricting, the once-a-decade requirement to redraw district boundaries.

Republican lawmakers are asking the Democratic leaders to honor the spirit and intent of the law in the committees’ approach to redistricting, and to commit to a transparent process that allows members of the public and historically marginalized communities a fair opportunity to provide their input.

"The redrawing our state’s political boundaries is one of the most important duties the Legislature has,” said Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany), who serves as vice-chair of the House Special Committee on Redistricting.

"Unfortunately, as we have seen in other states, this process can often be hijacked by partisan interests and result in gerrymandered maps that unfairly benefit one party over another. It doesn’t have to be that way here in Oregon. I urge my Democratic colleagues to commit to a fair process that provides equal input from members of both parties and guarantees that the public has a meaningful and substantive say in
how maps are drawn," Davis said.

Oregon law (ORS 188.010) requires each district to be contiguous, be of equal population, utilize existing geographic or political boundaries, not divide communities of common interest and be connected by transportation links. Furthermore, no district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring any political party, incumbent legislator or other person.

Republican lawmakers are also urging Democratic leaders to commit to a fair, constitutionally compliant and transparent process and one that also includes input and active participation from historically marginalized and rural communities.

Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend), who serves as vice-chair of the Senate Special Committee on Redistricting, added, “Every legislator must commit to redistricting integrity by engaging with these communities, ensure that they have access and actively participate in this process, and
ultimately produce fair maps that promote inclusiveness in our political system.”

"We need to end gerrymandering in America," the Republicans said in Monday's news release.

"Secretary of State Shemia Fagan signed a pledge to end gerrymandering as a tool to manipulate electoral districts to benefit political parties instead of voters. Republican members of the House and Senate redistricting committees couldn’t agree more," they said.

The Oregon 2021 Legislative Session officially began on January 21, 2021. The Legislature is required by the Oregon Constitution to produce new maps by July 1. In the event the Legislature fails to do so, the duty of reapportionment falls to the Oregon Secretary of State.

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