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Eugene representative wants lawmakers to vote on independent redistricting commission

capitol.JPG
KLCC
File photo of the Oregon Capitol.

A Eugene state lawmaker says he’ll try to force a vote Wednesday on a measure that could lead to the creation of an independent redistricting commission. Rep. Marty Wilde is a Democrat who has clashed publicly with his party's leadership regarding the new maps, which will take effect in the 2022 election cycle. Wilde said the maps are an example of politically-motivated gerrymandering.

Wilde said he pushed for districts to be drawn in a way that he thought would be more balanced.

“I didn't win, but someone was listening because the final redistricting maps were designed to make sure that I could not win re-election," he said during a speech on the House floor Tuesday. "All of this occurred while I was away on military duty, helping our troops save lives during the height of the delta surge.”

Wilde says he’ll use a parliamentary maneuver to try to pull House Joint Resolution 204 directly from committee to the House floor. Such tactics rarely succeed, but Wilde said he thinks it's the only option for the legislation to advance.

"HJR 204 would fix this problem by returning the redistricting power to where it belongs – with a citizen commission," Wilde wrote in an email to other lawmakers. "Unfortunately, it has not been set for a hearing yet, and there has been no indication that it ever will be."

If the resolution is approved by the House, and later the Senate, it would still need to go before Oregon voters, since it amends the state constitution.

Separately, a citizens group is trying to get an initiative on this year’s ballot that would also create an independent redistricting commission.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”