Please find my written testimony on Congressional redistricting below:

The Honorable Karl S. Aro

Chair, Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission

CC: The Honorable Bill Ferguson, President, MD State Senate

The Honorable Adrienne Jones, Speaker, MD House of Delegates

The Honorable Melony Griffith, President Pro Tem, MD State Senate

The Honorable Eric Luedtke, Majority Leader, MD House of Delegates

The Honorable Bryan Simonaire, Minority Leader, MD State Senate

The Honorable Jason Buckel, Minority Leader, MD House of Delegates

Democratic Caucus of the MD General Assembly

 

Salutations Chair Aro and Distinguished Members of the Maryland General Assembly,

 

     I want to voice my opinion on the currently proposed redistricting maps crafted by the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission. In the interest of transparency, I will start by stating that I am a lifelong resident of Congressional District 1, which is my primary concern.  I am fervently in favor of the map drawn by the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission.  I am also very proud of their A grade for anti-gerrymandering. However, for the purposes of evaluating your proposed maps, I offer my primary support to Map #4 and as a last alternative, I will accept Map #1.  Maps #2 and #3 are less than appropriate for District 1 and appear to continue the aggressive gerrymandering of District 1 for political gain. I ask that you please give full weight to the consideration of my rationales as outlined below.

 

1.) Just because Anne Arundel County is where some shore residents commute for work, doesn't create a meaningful connection for redistricting. If that were a true consideration, then Baltimore should always be part of District 1 and we should consider redrawing state lines with Delaware. 

 

2.) I strongly believe that having different representations at the footers on each side of the Chesapeake Bay spans is important because the opposing shores have different views regarding many aspects of the current spans and the future addition. When speaking in regards to federally funding projects, two House members rooted on either side of the spans are more powerful than one.

 

3.) In regards to the environmental concerns with the Bay, historically, there are differences between the ideals and management of the Eastern and Western shores. A representative should not be forced to favor one shore over the other.  This is where the more moderate and conservative voice of the Eastern and Upper shores can be dampened in the House. 

 

4.)  Simply put, gerrymandering is a form of voter suppression. As a Democrat and a nurse, I am strongly opposed to purposefully diminishing the vote, voice, and impact of citizens groups, even if that grouping happens to be a different political party. We already see this with state-level politics. The Eastern and Upper shore votes and voice are diluted in the progressive, Democratic, supermajority of the Maryland Populus.  Therefore, it becomes even more important to preserve that voice on the federal level so that conservatives and moderates can keep their political home in District 1. 

 

5.) Lastly, as a lifelong resident of Cecil County, on the Upper shore of District 1, I can attest to the strong sense of community with the Lower (Eastern) shore. Separating the Upper shore in favor of Anne Arundel County alienates us from something we have been politically a part of for my entire lifetime. I am proud to be part of the moderate to conservative grouping that is Maryland's First Congressional District. It is important for me to preserve that, even if it means the District is politically weighted in favor of another political party simply because that is the makeup of that District's citizenry. 

 

I say all of this with my full heart, my full conscious, in a sense of fairness, and as Congressman Harris's (MD-1) competitor. 

 

Thank you for your time,

-Jennifer Pingley, RN