An Urgent Plea for Redistricting Reform

Republican and Democrat lawmakers say that if redistricting reform does not happen this year, it will be a decade before they get another crack at it.

State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Fauquier) said she’s concerned her bipartisan redistricting bill could run into hurdles in the House of Delegates, which killed the measure last year.

“As a matter of fundamental fairness, Virginians deserve it,” Vogel said at a press conference Monday.

She was flanked by a phalanx of legislators.

Conspicuously absent, though, were House Republicans. None attended.

“Irrespective of where the [House Republican] leadership is, there are people on the House side, both Republicans and Democrats, who really understand and believe it’s the right thing to do,” Vogel said.

Lawmakers noted that Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) endorsed the idea on the campaign trail, as did his opponent, Democrat Creigh Deeds, who has pushed the idea in the state Senate for years.

“It really is very important that we have a signal from the governor to say ‘This bill or that bill is the one that meets what I was talking about when I was campaigning,'” said Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), the House Democratic Caucus chairman.

I asked McDonnell about that point in the hallway of the General Assembly Building, where the governor was meeting with military veterans.

“The concept of having more citizen input…is one that I support,” McDonnell said. “But what shape that takes place is going to be up to the legislature to how exactly to do that.”

“I hope to see some results this session,” he said.

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