18th District Congressman Darin LaHood still doesn’t know what his new district will look like, however, he’s not in favor of the federal government intervening with the redistricting process.
Congressional redistricting has yet to be decided in Illinois with lawmakers expected to meet in Springfield to decide the new districts by month’s end as hearings on redistricting continue.
LaHood says the process of redistricting in Illinois is very frustrating. “This process, it is undemocratic in my view. It is politicians picking their voters and I don’t think it’s healthy for democracy. I have been supportive of the fair map initiative which would allow non-politicians to draw the map and allow people that have no interest in the map for doing that.
I think we need an independent commission, and this is done in many other states. The state of Iowa does it, the state of California does it, Colorado, Arizona. But instead, we have a legislature dominated by Chicago democrats that are drawing the lines and they are going to be drawing them to where they will be very very partisan districts, very Republican, very Democrat. I’ve spoken out about that and will continue to do that but unfortunately, they are going to ram this through at the end of the month so I don’t know what my district will look like.”
Illinois is losing a congressional seat in the House due to population loss in the last census so not only are GOP representatives unsure of where their current district lines will change too, but they are also unsure if they will even have a district to represent going forward.
LaHood says despite the frustration with the process Illinois Democrats are using to determine the deficits, he does not want to see the federal government intervene.
“Because we don’t want to federalize our elections across all 50 states. The unique thing in our system is every state ought to decide where its lines are drawn. But there’s a better way of doing it, and again having non-politicians do this is currently being done in a number of other states and it’s a trend now.
There is I guess a presumption that we could pass a federal law that says every state could use an independent commission, but I don’t think the votes of support are there to do that. But clearly, this is in my view undemocratic, it’s not healthy for democracy and I think it leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.”
Five of the current 18 congressional districts in Illinois are held by Republicans, and the general assembly will have to draw 17 districts with as equal a population as possible.
Representatives Rodney Davis, Mike Bost, and Mary Miller along with LaHood account for districts in central and southern Illinois, while the fifth is held by Adam Kinzinger to the north which includes the far suburbs of Chicago.