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April 16, 2021

3/2/2021 2:25:00 PM
Reunite our country

Dear Editor;
When I moved to Iowa County more than 15 years ago, the entire county, except for three small villages on its western border, was in one Assembly district, district 51. The legislative representative from the district was able to stay in touch with the people in the county, got to know their concerns, and was accountable.
That all changed in 2011 when the political party in control of our Legislature secretly drew new "gerrymandered" voting maps to help them gain and retain that control. Our political home was dismantled. Sections of Iowa County were scattered among four different Assembly districts (49, 51, 80 and 81). Each of these new districts now represents folks in three to five different counties. Worst are districts 80 and 81 where Iowa County residents account for less than 5% of the district's total population.
So now I have an Assembly representative who does not have Iowa County concerns as a priority. On issues that affect our County, we have to compete for his attention with people from all the other counties he represents, putting us at a real disadvantage. Further, when I have concerns about county-wide issues I have to communicate my concerns to four different Representatives. But since Representatives understandably give more weight to communications from people in their own district, my input becomes diluted.
Fortunately you and I have a chance to make our voices heard on this issue. We can address our concerns directly to the People's Map Commission, which is charged by Governor Evers to draw new redistricting maps using a nonpartisan process. In drawing the maps, the Commission has been instructed to respect the integrity of county and municipal boundaries to the fullest extent possible.
The Commission is holding hearings throughout Wisconsin to get input from the public. They will be here in the 2nd Congressional District on March 11. If you want to help put an end to gerrymandering and reunite Iowa County into an appropriately compact Assembly district again, please make your views known to the Commission. For information on how to submit written comments and how to attend the virtual hearing, go to the Commission's website govstatus.egov.com/peoplesmaps. How often do we have an easy opportunity to make our voices heard? Let's take advantage of it.
Janet Brandt
Arena, WI





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