INDIANAPOLIS—On Thursday, members of the Senate Democratic Caucus introduced several amendments to address some of the more egregiously drawn districts in the Republican proposed district maps. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton (D-Gary) offered an amendment that would have placed West Lafayette and Lafayette into one Senate District rather than splitting it into two in the proposed Senate maps. Sen. Melton released the following comments after his amendment was voted down:
“West Lafayette and Lafayette are clear communities of interest, and there’s no reason at all–outside of political gain—for those communities to be split into separate districts,” Sen. Melton said. “My caucus’ amendment to District 22 would have kept Lafayette and West Lafayette together. It would have kept Purdue University together with its urban neighbor, which would have preserved that community of interest. Our proposed change would have also drawn District 23 and District 7 to remain predominantly rural, preserving that community of interest as well.
“The only reason to split up West Lafayette and Lafayette is to dilute the voices of that community. When those cities are divided up the way it has been done in the supermajority’s proposed map—lumping Purdue in with a southern rural county rather than its urban neighbor, Lafayette—it’s clear that the goal is to promote political gain for the Republican party. If it were truly the supermajority’s priority to keep communities of interest together, accepting this amendment would have been an easy decision for my colleagues across the aisle. ”