Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear will sign the controversial redistricting bill approved by the General Assembly earlier this week, but decried partisanship and the “personal vindictiveness” that resulted in state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, losing her seat.
The state legislature passed the new legislative maps Thursday, which moves Stein’s downtown Lexington district to northeastern Kentucky and leaves her without a seat for two years. Several Stein supporters were lobbying the governor to veto the legislation to keep her in office, but Beshear says the looming deadline to file for office took precedent.
From the governor’s office:
“Redistricting is always a partisan process, and the current situation is no exception. However, the action directed by the Senate President to move Senator Kathy Stein’s district in Lexington to northeast Kentucky in order to keep her from being able to run for re-election, and moving western Kentucky Senator Dorsey Ridley’s district to Lexington, goes beyond partisanship. It reflects a personal vindictiveness that should have no place in this process.
However, the deadline for Kentuckians to file for these House and Senate seats is January 31, only 11 days away. Therefore, I am signing House Bill 1 today so that all citizens interested in filing for any of these seats will know what House or Senate district they are in and have time to get their filing papers in order to file for office.
This situation also reinforces my belief that before redistricting occurs again in Kentucky, some type of non-partisan, citizen-based group should be created to participate in the process.”
Stein says she will not move to seek re-election, but is mulling different courses of action, including a lawsuit or running for her old House seat.