Public needs say in redistricting

Right now, politicians in the North Carolina General Assembly are dividing North Carolina into new legislative and congressional districts that could determine who represents us for the next decade.

The decisions made at this moment will affect our legislative realities for a decade to come. I am a physician at a rural health center, and to me redistricting is about healthcare, affordable housing, and good schools. For too long, our communities have been sliced and diced for partisan advantage. We deserve accurate and accountable representation, and we deserve a say when it comes to drawing the next decade of district lines that will represent our communities.

Right now, legislators who control redistricting are planning only one public hearing in Raleigh. This one event will be inaccessible for most North Carolinians — and that is wrong. We can do better than this.

Every North Carolinian deserves to have their voice heard in this process, and the lack of access to public hearings, especially in areas historically targeted for map manipulation, is a clear effort to eliminate key voices from this process.

We need public hearings after draft maps are released that are accessible — both in-person and online — to every North Carolinian, regardless of whether they live in a large city, small town or tribal territory.

I am calling on state Rep. Terry Garrison, state Sen. Ernestine Bazemore and the entire Joint Redistricting Committee to ensure that the public has accessible, safe opportunities to comment on draft maps, and to a future that represents our communities.

Laura Ucik