Reaction coming from southern Illinois lawmakers to the proposed congressional maps

Reaction coming from southern Illinois lawmakers to the proposed congressional maps

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Republicans are once again frustrated with the Democratic congressional boundary maps released on Friday, with one calling it shameful, partisan gerrymandering. Illinois Democrats unveiled the first draft of proposed congressional boundaries, with 17 districts after the state lost a seat due to population loss. The existing congressional delegation is made up of 13 Democrats and five Republicans.

“This proposal is an excellent first draft that amplifies diverse voices and gives every person in our state a say in government,” said state Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, chairperson of the House Redistricting Committee.

Several districts wind through various parts of the state on thin strips of land. That includes the 13th district, which runs from Champaign to the north to Belleville in the south, making its way westward and including several downstate cities along the way.

“Some of the shapes and how they were able to fit some of the urban areas together seems a bit wild,” said Ryan Tolley, policy director with the nonpartisan nonprofit organization Change Illinois.

Southern Illinois Republican State Representatives Dave Severin, Patrick Windhorst, and Paul Jacobs are sounding off in opposition to the process and what they call a severely gerrymandered product.

“The newest Illinois draft US Congressional maps represent an unprecedented effort to protect the political power of Nancy Pelosi and failing Washington Democrats,” Rep. Dave Severin (R-Benton) said. “As a member of the House Redistricting Committee, I have serious concerns with the lack of transparency in the process that led to the release of today’s draft maps. Democrat politicians in Illinois seem willing to go to any length to protect their political power. These newly proposed maps are aimed at protecting state and national Democrats’ political power and would unfairly disenfranchise voters in Southern Illinois.”

State Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) says the lack of popularity of Democrat President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” spending plan, runaway inflation, backlogged supply chains, a lack of availability of common commercial goods, and the President and Nancy Pelosi’s sinking poll numbers means the Washington Democrats slim minority is in jeopardy next November.

“Illinois Democrats in the General Assembly are aware of the unpopularity of the President and US Congressional leaders like Nancy Pelosi and leftist-progressives,” Windhorst said. “The gerrymandering in this map is on full display for all to see. From creating one massive geographic district for all of Southern Illinois to drawing Republican incumbents together, to the closed-door process that led to today’s maps being released, Democrats in Springfield are doing all they can to protect unpopular and failing Democrats in Washington.”

State Rep. Paul Jacobs (R-Pomona) says he believes Illinoisans are growing weary of the heavy-handed political tactics used by Springfield and Washington Democrats to ensure their political power.

“Illinois Democrats’ goal seems to be the complete and total obliteration of the Republican party using the map-making process,” Jacobs said. This is quite simply an all-out effort to protect Nancy Pelosi’s Speakership. Washington Democrats’ policies have opened our borders to criminals, drug dealers, and human traffickers. Prices of everything are skyrocketing due to Joe Biden and JB Pritzker’s unworkable and outrageous energy policies. Our standing in the world has dropped significantly after the debacle in Afghanistan, and Democrats are hoping Illinoisans are so distracted that they will not notice this extremely gerrymandered map. The people of Southern Illinois should know that Democrats in Illinois are working for JB Pritzker, Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi, not for you.”

U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) released the following statement after Illinois Democrats released their new congressional district map proposal:

 “Governor Pritzker and his Democrat allies have shown just how low they will sink to protect their party’s political power. This gerrymandered nightmare is a dream come true for Nancy Pelosi as she struggles to hold onto her majority in Congress. Once again, Illinois voters have lost out to the corrupt political interests of Democrat Party bosses.”

State Senator and Republican frontrunner, Darren Bailey, responds to the hyper-partisan and gerrymandered congressional maps released by Illinois Democrats. He released the following statement.

“These corrupt, politically-motivated maps were drawn to benefit politicians over working families, and Illinoisans deserve better. People are tired of being lied to and they are tired of the political elites putting their elections over working families and the success of this state. We need to use real data and we need to draw fair and independent maps. Voters should pick their elected officials and not the other way around. I hope and pray Springfield will come together and do what’s right for the people of Illinois and give them fair and honest maps through a fully transparent process. Until then, I will stand up, speak out, and vote no on any map that puts politics ahead of the people of this state.”

The 13th district is currently represented by Republican Congressman Rodney Davis, who has expressed interest in running for governor and has said the decision would depend on how Illinois Democrats would alter his district.

“This proposed map, along with this entire redistricting process, is a complete joke,” Davis said in a statement. “It’s clear Governor Pritzker and the Democrats will stoop to any low if it means they can keep their corrupt system going.”

The map would put Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, and Democrat Marie Newman into the same district, which is known to be a Democratic stronghold. The map also pits Republican Mary Miller against four-term GOP Rep. Darin LaHood in a heavily Republican district.

Despite calls from Latino voting rights groups for a second Latino-majority district, the plan keeps only one, something University of Illinois-Springfield political science professor Kent Redfield said could be a problem.

“I assume if the Democrats can pass this and that Pritzker will sign it, their only legal problem involves Hispanic representation,” Redfield said.

Democrats have a supermajority in Illinois and can dictate the new map without any Republican input. That was evident earlier this year with the adoption of new state legislative boundaries.

The congressional maps will be one of the top agenda items when lawmakers return to Springfield this week.