Republican leaders must rule out gerrymandering, accept second map

Statement by Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls

DES MOINES—At today’s weekly media availability, Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls of Coralville delivered the following remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“This morning I was proud to join UAW workers on the picket line in Ankeny. I stand in solidarity with the UAW workers striking for a fair contract from Deere. Iowans deserve pay and benefits that reflect their hard work. Every hard-working Iowan deserves a good paying job, a middle-class life, and a secure retirement.

“Working people built America into the greatest nation on Earth and are the backbone of this country. We should reward work, not wealth.

“While Senate Democrats continue our fight for working Iowans, we remain vigilant about the looming Republican gerrymander.

“Since the start of 2021, we’ve been calling on Iowa Republicans to respect Iowa’s nonpartisan redistricting tradition and rule out gerrymandering Iowa’s legislative districts. So far, Republicans have refused to rule out imposing partisan election maps on Iowa.

“Their silence is a clear sign that Republicans are willing to cheat and gerrymander Iowa’s elections for the next decade.

“All Iowans should be concerned. Partisan gerrymandering strengthens the power of special interest elites while silencing the voices of farmers, small business owners, parents, and retirees. Republican gerrymandering will create a breeding ground for corruption and bad laws, continuing to push younger and talented Iowans to leave for better opportunities elsewhere.”

“Iowa law never intended for the majority party to be able to review all the maps, and then pick and choose the map it likes the best. When one party picks and chooses maps that they like the best; that’s gerrymandering, plain and simple. This a la carte gerrymandering is an egregious abuse of our process – a process recognized across the country for its fairness and independence.

“Republicans are threatening Iowa’s fair, nonpartisan redistricting process. Republicans have continually kept on the table the prospect of adopting a new, secret district map drawn by unknown Republican lobbyists and powerbrokers. Today, I’m calling on Republican leaders to pledge to completely rule out gerrymandering and accept the second legislative map that we’ll see next week.

“If the second map meets all the requirements laid out in state law – which I am confident it will – then Senate Democrats will vote for it, and Republicans should as well. They can put this all to bed and allow all of us to move on by voting YES on the second nonpartisan, independent map.