Kansas legislators promise more redistricting town halls on the way

FILE(Phil Anderson)
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:34 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas legislators have been clear that more Redistricting Town Hall meetings are on the way.

The Kansas Democratic Party says in August, in response to public outcry following a crammed redistricting schedule, Republican Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman promised more public hearings in the fall. With fall in full swing and Republicans remain silent on plans for additional Redistricting Town Halls.

KDP said all Census data was released to states by Sept. 30, and with that came redistricting plans. It said nonpartisan groups have already called out the Kansas GOP for ignoring calls for transparency and missing the Oct. 1 deadline.

In light of the silence and inaction, the KDP has called on Ryckman and other Republican leaders to fulfill their promises and host more Redistricting Town Halls, and to do so in a fair and transparent manner.

KDP said Kansans made concerns clear at the Town Halls with calls for additional Town Halls 175 times out of 372 testimonies. It also said increased transparency was mentioned in 203 of the testimonies while concern for accessibility of the meetings was mentioned 138 times.

“Additional public input will be needed. We plan to do virtual town halls in the Fall and every redistricting committee meeting will be live-streamed online and open to the public to attend in person,” Ryckman told the Kansas City Star.

However, KDP said this statement remains a promise unkept.

“As an elected member of the House of Representatives, it is Ron Ryckman’s duty to uphold his promises and do what’s right by Kansans,” said KDP Chairwoman Vicki Hiatt in a statement. “With all the Census data released, Republicans should provide transparent redistricting information, and forums for voters to ask questions and give feedback on their maps. Kansas voters couldn’t be more clear on what they want from the Republican-controlled Redistricting Town Halls. It’s time for Republicans to get the Fall Town Halls in motion, and let Kansans have a fair voice in their democracy.”

House Speaker Ryckman told 13 NEWS that he does not make promises he does not intend to keep and that more Town Halls actually are in the works.

“Biden’s operatives make a living off crying wolf. The reality is additional town halls are happening. They’ve been in the works for weeks. We don’t make promises we don’t intend to keep,” said Ryckman.

There were 14 redistricting meetings held in August, which were meant to gather opinions on how political boundaries should be redrawn for 2022.

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