By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – House Speaker Greg Stumbo dismissed House Republicans’ redistricting plan Friday as “a dog and pony show” and claimed that House GOP leader Jeff Hoover has declined to participate in the process.
“We’ve been asking Jeff Hoover to take part in the redistricting process for two years now, and he has obviously chosen not to do that,” Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said via email. “I’m not going to be a member of his dog and pony show, and I have yet to hear anyone say his plan is a fair one except him.”
Hoover and fellow House Republicans unveiled a plan Thursday to redraw all 100 House districts to comply with population changes documented in the last U.S. Census.
It pits eight incumbent state representatives against each other in four districts – one with two Republicans, one with two Democrats and two districts with incumbents from each party.
House Democrats have not yet released their plan for consideration in a special legislative session that Gov. Steve Beshear has called to begin Aug. 19.
“Our redistricting process has been open and transparent, and I believe the map we use will have bipartisan support, pass both chambers and meet all of the constitutional requirements,” Stumbo said.
Hoover, R-Jamestown, said in a news release that he is disappointed with Stumbo’s comments.
“When one person like Speaker Stumbo can dismiss what many, including members of his own party, have referred to as the fairest redistricting plan that has been offered in the last three years, and by openly admitting that he has not reviewed our plan but would not support it, he is saying to the people of Kentucky that partisan politics come first and foremost,” Hoover said.
The GOP leader said his office has received calls from House Democrats “wanting copies of our plan, so they can give it careful consideration. We have happily provided copies to all members of the House of Representatives, regardless of political party.”
Hoover also said: “I was truly hopeful following our announcement of ‘A Fair Plan for Kentucky’ that it would set the tone for a bipartisan effort heading into the special session which starts in a little over a week.
“Instead Speaker Stumbo wants to treat it as partisan business as usual. This attitude is exactly what is wrong with Frankfort and has to be changed.”
The legislature has been trying since 2012 to redraw boundaries of legislative districts but without success.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in the House 55-45. Republicans hope they can gain control of the House next year, when all 100 seats are up for grabs.