‘Not a bomb-thrower’: Utah governor has no plans to veto redistricting maps

Local Politics

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News, via AP, Pool, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As Utah lawmakers gather to create and approve the redistricting maps, the state’s top elected official says he has no plans to strike down the controversial maps drawn. Part of the reason? He says he doesn’t have the power.

During the first day of a special session called by Governor Spencer Cox, the Utah House of Representatives advanced their own congressional map proposal with a 50-22 vote – a veto-proof majority, according to the governor. The map now moves on to the Senate, where Gov. Cox says it is expected to pass with another veto-proof majority.

“I’m a very practical person,” Gov. Cox explained during a Tuesday night Facebook Live. “I’m not a bomb-thrower and I believe in good governance.”

He goes on to say that he needs to maintain a working relationship with the state legislature to accomplish some of the “incredible things” on his agenda. Gov. Cox also notes some of the lawmakers have been working “very hard” on the redistricting maps.

Utah’s Legislative Redistricting Committee opted to draw its own redistricting maps rather than accept any from the independent redistricting commission. Many, including Representative Brian King (D-Salt Lake City), have spoken out about the maps, even calling them “seriously gerrymandered.”

In his Facebook townhall, Governor Cox explained the legality of redistricting, noting that it is the legislature’s power and responsibility to enact these maps.

“I know many of you are thinking that that is a conflict of interest, and you’re right, it is a conflict of interest,” Gov. Cox adds. “I think that’s fairly clear, they get to kind of draw the lines within which they’ll run. But for better or worse, that is the strategy or process, I guess, that was chosen by the founders of our country and the founders of our state.”

Still, the governor did acknowledge the frustrations felt about counties, like Salt Lake County, being divided into multiple districts. He explains he felt the same way about Sanpete County during his time as a county commissioner.

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