Less than six hours after Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox issued a call to reconvene the House of Delegates to continue to work toward a bipartisan redistricting proposal, Governor Ralph Northam shut the door on bipartisan collaboration and said he would veto House Bill 7003, no matter what it looks like. The governor’s public statement stands in contrast to several private discussions with House leaders.
“At least the Governor is finally being honest. After weeks of feigning interest, the governor has admitted at last that he wants federal judges appointed by President Obama to draw a redistricting map to deliver a Democratic majority in the House of Delegates.” said Speaker Kirk Cox. “This public omission stands in contrast to several private conversations I’ve shared with him.”
Cox added, “We’ve expressed our willingness to work on House Bill 7002, 7003 or any other map so long as it complies with the Court order, is politically-neutral, and adheres to traditional redistricting criteria. Our offer still stands. In the coming days we will evaluate whether there are any alternative pathways and the necessity of meeting as scheduled on October 21.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman and patron of House Bill 7003 S. Chris Jones said, “It is hard to overstate my disappointment in the Governor, someone I’ve known personally and professionally for over a decade. I said last week that House Bill 7003 was a work in progress, and that I was willing to work in collaboration with members of both parties as I have always done throughout my career because I believe it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately in this case, the right thing appears to taken a back seat to those who are determined to win political power no matter the cost.”