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Michigan's redistricting process seeks to draw maps fairly in citizen-led, transparent process

On this month’s State of the State podcast from Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR), institute director Matt Grossmann and assistant director Arnold Weinfeld welcome Suann Hammersmith to this month’s conversation. Hammersmith is executive director of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Before talking with Hammersmith, Grossmann and Weinfeld discuss the implications of loosening mask restrictions, the recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, and the “enormous” influx of federal dollars into Michigan’s state budget. The money is very helpful to Michigan communities in many ways, but Grossmann cautions that “the spigot is going to be turned off at some point.”

Credit Cindy Kyle | MSU IPPSR

Grossmann and Weinfeld also talk about the removal of Liz Cheney from her leadership role in the Republican party in Congress. Grossman explains why he thinks the move was less about Donald Trump and more about how people just don’t like public internal squabbling in political parties.

Hammersmith joins the conversation to discuss the progress of the redistricting commission. She and Grossmann emphasize that the maps must reflect communities of interest and the diversity of the state.

“Communities of interest are identified in our Constitution as either cultural or historical groups or groups with shared economic interests, but they’re not limited to those groups,” says Hammersmith. “We’re listening. And we’re asking those communities to come forward and talk to us. Obviously as 13 independent people on the commission we can’t know everybody in the state and know where those communities are. They will self-identify, and we’re looking forward to learning more about our state and learning about people who feel that they’re better impacted when they’re voting together as a group and a community of interest.

“There are many ways to engage with the commission, and we want to hear from the citizens of Michigan.”

MSU Today airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 on 105.1 FM and AM 870 and streams at WKAR.org. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.

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