A crucial component of legislating successfully is compromise. Good ideas come from both sides of the aisle and from all kinds of perspectives. More often than not, the legislation we pass is of a bipartisan nature, and I firmly believe that by working together we can come to the best solutions that serve all Ohioans.
That was certainly the case when we passed historic congressional redistricting reform earlier this year. In 2015, a ballot initiative was overwhelmingly approved by Ohioans to change the way our state House and Senate districts are drawn. Taking inspiration from that method, the legislature put forth Senate Joint Resolution 5, which will reform the way Ohio’s congressional district map is created.
This change was necessary to ensure Ohioans are fairly represented in Congress. The proposal outlines a map-making process that involves several steps, helping guarantee the input and support of the minority party. Senate Joint Resolution 5 incorporates 3 main characteristics, all while complying with the federal Voting Rights Act. Under the initiative, Ohio’s congressional map-making process must have bipartisan support, keep communities of interest like cities and counties whole, and promote districts that are compact and competitive.
The most important part of this process was the collaboration between the House and Senate, between Republicans and Democrats, and with the involvement of engaged citizen groups and the public. This proposal champions a fair solution to a complex issue, one that does right by the citizens of Ohio. Because of this, I am reminded of the success that can be had when all interested parties are given a space at the table to discuss controversial topics.
Ohioans will have the opportunity to vote directly on this issue on the May 8 primary ballot, which is required to give it the final stamp of approval. I’m proud of the initiative the legislature has agreed upon for the public’s consideration and am confident it will garner fair and equal representation in Ohio in the future.
Steve Huffman is serving his second term as state representative for the 80th Ohio House District, which covers Miami County and parts of Darke County. He also is the former Miami County Coroner.