Calling it an exercise in hyper-partisanship, former Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo criticized Kentucky lawmakers for adopting a controversial redistricting plan that faces a potential lawsuit.
The Democratic-controlled House drafted a plan that put nine Republican incumbents in the same district, which almost guarantees their 59-to-41 majority would grow. In response, the GOP-controlled Senate carved a map that drew out liberal state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, and made other Democratic leaning districts in Louisville more conservative.
House Republicans have promised to file a lawsuit Thursday to challenge the new legislative district maps in Franklin County Circuit Court, which will include a motion to stop them from taking immediate effect.
Mongiardo says he supports legislation creating an independent commission to draw new districts, adding a non-partisan group would put the interests of citizens above the “self-serving interests of the politicians” in either political party.
“While many will say redistricting is just politics as usual, it is much more than that. The redistricting plans recently passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor was an exercise in hyper-partisanship that disenfranchises hundreds of thousands of citizens and should be overturned,” he says. “It is this type of unnecessarily divisive partisan politics that further weakens our political systems ability to solve the difficult problems confronting our state and nation.”
It is unclear if Stein will also file a lawsuit against the controversial plan, but supporters in her district are livid over the new maps.
According to the plan, Stein’s district will be relocated to western Kentucky, meaning constituents in downtown Lexington will be represented by a lawmaker who lives three hour away for the next two years.
Mongiardo called the elimination of Stein’s district an injustice and reserved his harshest words for state Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, and state Sen. Alice Forgy-Kerr, R-Lexington, who were rivals of Stein.
“I sympathize with what Senator Stein and the citizens of Fayette County are going through. In 2002, Senate Republicans led by David Williams tried to punish me by moving my senate district from Perry County in southeastern Kentucky to northern Kentucky simply because I, like Senator Stein, was outspoken and vigorous in my opposition to certain policies advocated by the Senate President and the Republican majority.
Clearly, President Williams remains the same petty and vindictive politician today that he was then. What happened to Senator Stein and her constituents is an injustice, just as it is for Senator Ridley and his constituents.
For Senator Alice Forgy Kerr to place her loyalty to David Williams above her loyalty to the people of Fayette County and vote to eliminate the only other state senator from Fayette County is shameful. The fact that she didnt have the courage to publicly and openly cast her yea vote at the time is even more shameful. Senator Kerrs decision to eliminate the only state senator representing Lexingtons downtown core and the UK campus area is mystifying. Her constituents, those citizens living in Lexingtons suburbs, are inextricably linked to the success of Lexingtons downtown and the University of Kentucky.
It is my hope that the citizens of Fayette will demand from Senator Kerr a public explanation as to why she voted to eliminate her fellow hometown senator and disenfranchise more than 100,000 citizens in our Commonwealths second largest city. An even bigger mystery is why she did not have the political courage to publicly and openly cast her vote at the time the vote was taken, instead waiting until the next day to quietly record her vote with the Senate Clerk’s office.”