Progressive organizations in US House District 1 as well as some statewide have written to the leaders of both Assembly chambers to express "our support for a new Congressional map that restores balance to Maryland’s First District, and protects our democracy from radicals who would overturn the will of the voters for political gain. We urge you to use your power to create a competitive First District where anti-democratic extremists are not immune to accountability from the voters." If this effort for a fair redistricting map falls short, "we would hate to look back with regret that we did not do more to save our democracy."
Office of House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones
Office of Senate President Bill Ferguson
Dear House of Delegates Speaker Jones and Senate President Ferguson,
We, the undersigned organizations, write to you today to express our support for a new Congressional map that restores balance to Maryland’s First District, and protects our democracy from radicals who would overturn the will of the voters for political gain. We urge you to use your power to create a competitive First District where anti-democratic extremists are not immune to accountability from the voters.
For over a decade, the First District has been represented by Congressman Andy Harris, an extremist who has shown himself to be a danger to democracy. His actions leading up to—and after—the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th were inexcusable. Congressman Harris voted against the certification of several states that President Biden fairly won, helped stoke the violence that led to the attack, and has tried to minimize and cover up what happened that day. Harris even voted against giving the Congressional Gold Medal to the Capitol Police officers that saved his life.
The First District did not always breed this kind of extremism. But after the last redistricting process in 2011, when the state legislature created a sprawling district that spans from Carroll County to Ocean City, Andy Harris was elected and subsequently shielded by the district’s partisan makeup from any semblance of accountability. This time around, we are calling on you to return the First District to the shape it held for the two decades that Wayne Gilchrest represented the district—a district based on the Eastern Shore with the inclusion of the Annapolis area, a region that has far more in common with the Shore than areas north and west of Baltimore on the Pennsylvania border. The decision you make during the special legislative session in December is not just about the next election. It is about how communities are represented for the next ten years, and it is about protecting our democracy.
Had Andy Harris had his way in January, our country would have been thrown into a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have never seen, all because he refused to accept the will of the American people. The 2024 election could bring a similar battle, and in order to save our republic, we must ensure voters have the power to unseat dangerous members like Andy Harris.
We are writing today because we would hate to look back with regret that we did not do more to save our democracy. At the end of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin is said to have answered when asked what form of government we agreed to, “a republic, if you can keep it.” We hope we are able to look back at this time with pride that the state legislature did its job, and took action to keep our republic.
Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee | Citizens Redistricting a Better Maryland (CRAB MD) | D33 (Anne Arundel County) Democratic Club | Decency for District One | Democratic Club of Caroline County | Democratic Club of Kent County | Democratic Club of Queen Anne's County |Democratic Club of Wicomico County | Democratic Women's Club of Worcester County | Dorchester Democratic Club | Indivisible Worcester MD | Lower Shore Progressive Caucus | Our Revolution Baltimore City/County | NAACP Talbot County Branch | Progressive Maryland | Talbot County Democratic Forum | Talbot County Democratic Women's Club | Talbot Rising | Working Families Party (MD)
This open letter was first sent Nov. 17 to the Assembly leadership