Baltimore County Republicans Announce Independent Redistricting Initiative

… Skeptical of Democrats’ motives, group announces independent effort …

baltimoresun.com

By Kevin Rector, krector@tribune.com

July 22, 2011

The Baltimore County Republican Central Committee announced Thursday that it will create an independent plan for redistricting in the county ahead of the state legislature taking up the issue in a special session expected in October.

Committee members said they fear political motivations will shape how the Democrat-led legislature will make its decisions when redrawing the county’s legislative lines, which can have a large effect on the electability of Republican candidates when constituencies are divided.

“The motivating factor, obviously, is the redistricting plans that are laid out are usually pretty political in their ambitions,” said committee member Herman “Woody” Wood. “It’s always been extremely prejudicial to what the Democrats want to do.”

Steve Kolbe, who was elected chairman of the BCRCC on July 11, said creating the plan will provide residents with a new point of view that has been missing in the past.

“I believe that Baltimore County deserves a sensible, good government alternative, and given the poor track record of the Democrat-controlled majority, it became clear to me in my new role as the committee leader that we needed to help offer that alternative,” Kolbe said.

The committee plans to have its independent redistricting plan — complete with a proposed map and written testimony from residents — prepared by the time Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Redistricting Advisory Committee holds its public hearing for Baltimore County at Towson University on August 27, Kolbe said.

“We believe we can provide some constructive feedback on that end, naturally with a particularly local, Baltimore County perspective,” he said. “We want to be proactive about this.”

Redistricting is “one of the most important issues of our time right now,” Kolbe said, and creating an independent plan for the process is a welcome initiative for the BCRCC, which has been distracted in recent months by division among its ranks under former chairman Tony Campbell.

“This is a great initiative for our central committee to undertake,” Kolbe said. “We are ready, we are unified, and we are getting to work

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