CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Democratic Caucus of the West Virginia State Senate has issued the following statement regarding redistricting:
After a long and tedious redistricting process, today we passed a West Virginia Senate district map. We want to thank the Redistricting Committee Chairman Trump, committee staff, and our committee membership: Senator Mike Caputo (D-Marion), Senator Glenn Jeffries (D-Putnam), and Senator Mike Woelfel (D-Cabell). They all traveled across the state taking input from citizens at public hearings, considering maps, reading public comments, and spent hours in Redistricting committee meetings. With their leadership, we submitted multiple maps for committee consideration and published them on the Legislature’s website.
Most of our caucus voted for the final map because it represented a compromise among the reasonable members of the Senate. Earlier versions of the map split more counties, split municipalities, and split more communities of interest. While this map isn’t perfect, it’s reasonable. Above all else, it keeps communities of interest together in most cases, and that’s vitally important in our state.
We remain deeply concerned by a major rift within the body right now, which this process exposed. The majority of the West Virginia Senate is governed by common sense. It allows us to work together across lines to serve the people. However, a small faction of the majority party threatened at many junctures to hijack the process. Instead of considering a map passed out of the Redistricting Committee, the faction created and proposed their own map in the dead of night and tried to force a vote on it without publishing it for public consideration or taking any comments on it whatsoever. Our Republic requires compromise, transparency, and decency.
This did not have to be so difficult. Reasonable people can and should sit down together and solve problems. As the next legislative session approaches, it is vital for us as state leaders to work together in such a manner.
We continue to believe in the Democratic ideals of freedom, transparency, and representation. We believe in the committee process and not only allowing but encouraging public input to the legislative proceedings. We look forward to continuing to champion those values this coming session, no matter how much pushback we receive from a small faction bent on acquiring power at any cost.