Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Will Governor Walker Rise Above the Partisan Divide and Call for Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform in "State of the State?"

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

For Release: Tuesday - January 21, 2014

On Wednesday evening, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will deliver his fourth "State of the State" address in front of a joint session of the Legislature -- and he has an important decision to make before then. Will he rise above the current, polarized and divisive partisan divide and announce his support for legislation that would bring about a non-partisan redistricting process similar to what has been in place in Iowa since 1981?

Or, will he continue to tacitly support the vehement opposition to this basic, common-sense reform by the Republican legislative leadership, who will not even schedule public hearings on Assembly Bill 185 and/or Senate Bill 163?

In Iowa, in 1980, a Republican Governor (Robert Ray) signed into law their non-partisan redistricting plan that was passed by the Iowa Legislature with Republican majorities in both chambers. They did it because they put the interests of the citizens of Iowa ahead of their own narrow, partisan interests. Why would Governor Walker not wish to demonstrate the same support for the interests of the citizens of Wisconsin?

On Sunday, major daily newspapers across Wisconsin simultaneously issued powerful editorials calling on Walker to be a Governor for all of Wisconsin and, at the very least, call for public hearings to be scheduled by the legislative leadership on AB 185 and SB 163. "Alternative" public hearings have already occurred in Appleton in December and in Chippewa Falls, Marshfield, Rice Lake and Wausau earlier this month. But Republican legislators did not participate in those hearings even thought they were invited. It's high time that they did.

Here are three things you can do today to advance this critical reform.

First, further educate yourself and read these powerful editorials from this past Sunday's newspapers:

Appleton Post Crescent: Editorial: Walker should push for hearing on redistricting reform
Beloit Daily News: Chance to lead on redistricting
Eau Claire Leader Telegram: Walker should take bold step
Green Bay Press Gazette: Editorial: Walker should call for public hearings on redistricting
La Crosse Tribune: Our view: Walker must lead on redistricting
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A few words from Gov. Scott Walker might make the difference
Wisconsin State Journal: My fellow citizens, it's time for a public hearing on redistricting reform

Next, check here to see if your State Senator and your State Representative are co-sponsors of AB 185/SB 163. If they are, contact them, say "thank you" and ask them to make this issue a priority. If they are not co-sponsors, contact them and tell them to support AB 185/SB 163. If you are not sure who your State Senator and/or State Representatives are, go here.

Finally, contact Governor Scott Walker:

(608) 266-1212

Office of Governor Scott Walker
115 East Capitol
Madison, WI 53702

Urge him to support and speak out in favor of non-partisan redistricting reform and, specifically, in support of Assembly Bill 185 and Senate Bill 163 (which are identical). And that he speak out in support of public hearings on the reform measures right away!

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703

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