Friday, January 18, 2002

Commissioners oppose revision

Boehner would lose 4 townships

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The proposal to carve four Butler County townships out of U.S. Rep. John Boehner's territory could erode the Republican stronghold's political clout, Butler County commissioners said Thursday.

        Commissioners on Thursdayunanimously approved a resolution opposing a redistricting plan that is now moving through Congress. Under the proposal, Morgan, Ross, Hanover and Reily townships would shift from Rep. Boehner, R-West Chester Township, to Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati.

        “We feel Butler County will lose its strength,” said Commission President Courtney Combs.

        Commissioner Michael A. Fox said the proposal, advanced by other Republicans, “is a kick in the head to the Republican organization in Butler County.”

        Mr. Fox, a former state legislator, said it would be the first time since 1965 that the county would be split between two Congressional districts.“And once you've crossed that barrier, they'll gobble up a little bit more,” he said.

        Mr. Fox said the change would add “Republican-rich” Butler County territory to Rep. Chabot's more politically divided area. Also Rep. Chabot's district is chiefly urban in character; the four Butler County townships are largely rural.

        Karl Dillhoff, a Republican Morgan Township trustee, said he has met Rep. Chabot and likes him. Still, Mr. Dillhoff said, “I was very disappointed that they didn't keep Butler County intact..”

        Rep. Boehner's office has given no indication that he would try to alter the plan.

        “What he will do is work with Congressman Chabot and ensure a smooth transition,” said spokesman Steve Forde.

        All of Shelby County and sections of Mercer, Auglaize, and Montgomery counties will also be removed from Rep. Boehner's district under the proposed map.


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