LANSING, Mich. — As the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission draws closer to redrawing voting district maps, more and more political battles are cropping up.
“It's a large fight that’s not surprising to us. Unfortunately it’s a national fight. I mean its in Michigan but our politics are national in scope," said Wayne State University political science professor, Ronald Brown.
Two of the latest issues center around what the Michigan GOP is calling a questionable contract and whether or not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance before starting meetings.
The commission will not recite the pledge.
But the contract the body entered into with a Maryland firm for legal consultation is at the heart of the complaint coming from the Republicans.
“The Commission should re-evaluate this hire or bring on a second attorney to remove any perception of partisan political bias. This process and this commission absolutely must remain non-partisan,"said Michigan GOP spokesperson, Ted Goodman.
The Commission opened up a bidding process to find a legal consultant.
Communications and Outreach Director, Edward Woods III says there were several bids that were widdled down to two.
At last Thursday’s meeting, Bruce Adelson and Federal Compliance Consulting, LLC were chosen.
The Michigan GOP says the hire is inappropriate because Adelson has donated to Democratic campaigns, therefore arguing that he can't serve in a bipartisan way.
Lansing City councilwoman, Patricia Spitzley says this kind of thing isn’t a good look.
“Any distraction whether it's true or not and this allegation of impropriety by the GOP just serves to taint the process and it's unfortunate because its critically important process,"said Sptizley.
When asked about the contract and the Michigan GOP’s objections to it, commissioner Ed Woods says the body welcomes comments but they have to be submitted in a timely manner.
“We would just invite them to make sure the public comment is in before the meeting and sign up so that they can be heard in time. That’s not just to the GOP, it's to everyone," said Communications and Outreach Director Edward Woods III.
Wayne State University political science professor, Ronald Brown says we can expect to see more fights as the deadline to redraw districts gets closer.
“That hyper-partisanship prevents talking about disagree on some informal norms. The pledge whether you do it or not do it, it’s a norm. Its not so much about whether or not someone is a patriot but it’s a norm and I think that’s the issue," said Brown.
The Commission is set to hold 16 town hall meetings to get input and answer questions from the community starting May 11th.
Those meetings will happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays until July 1st.
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