Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today issued a statement on the historic inclusion of two Black lawmakers on the state’s Redistricting Commission, House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron).
“Every critical issue in our state comes down to fair districts, from education and the economy to growing good paying jobs and protecting healthcare access. It’s important that we get this right, and I have the utmost confidence in our incredible Democratic Commission members who have the knowledge, experience and dedication to ensure we draw fair maps that represent the true diversity of our state,” said Rep. West. Ohioans gave us the roadmap for fair districts. It’s up to us to fulfill that vision, and I have full confidence that with Leader Sykes and Sen. Sykes’s leadership, we will ensure the people’s voice is represented.”
Leader Sykes has previously served as co-chair of the Legislative Task Force on Redistricting. Sen. Sykes was instrumental in the efforts to pass legislation that prompted the 2015 state legislative redistricting reform initiative and the 2018 congressional redistricting reform initiative.
The selection of Leader Sykes and Sen. Sykes comes after Gov. Mike DeWine earlier this week called for the Commission to convene for its first meeting this Friday, Aug. 6, at 9 a.m. The state expects to receive U.S. Census Bureau data by Aug. 16, and the first constitutional mapmaking deadline is Sept. 1. The Commission is constitutionally required to hold at least three public meetings.