Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald endorsed a YES vote on Issue 2 today, saying it is needed to end policies that harm Cleveland and Ohio's other great cities.
"There is no good reason to have a congressional district that extends from Greater Cleveland all the way to Toledo. That district is an insult to people in both regions,'' FitzGerald said. "Ohio cannot fully recover if its cities continue to be undermined and under-represented.''
The newly drawn 9th congressional district, often derided as "the snake along the lake," has been the subject of national ridicule and experts have christened it "the worst congressional map in the nation."
The map also is harmful to Summit County, home to Akron, he said. Summit County has had one elected representative for nearly 80 years. Today's map puts pieces of it in four different congressional districts. If all four incumbents win, there will be no elected representative who lives Summit County for the first time since the 1920's, he said.
FitzGerald also took aim at Statehouse politicians who are systematically siphoning money away from cities to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and promote what he called "ridiculous gimmicks like privatizing the Ohio Turnpike."
His comments came one day after Gov. John Kasich's administration unveiled a consultant's report showing that the 141-mile toll road could generate several billion dollars over decades if toll are permitted to rise at the rate of inflation.
FitzGerald noted that residents across northern Ohio have seen past toll increases cause excessive noise, traffic and safety problems when truck drivers and other motorists use secondary roads near residential neighborhoods to avoid the tolls.
"I hope voters across the state realize that one of Ohio's true reformers supports a YES vote on Issue 2," said Voters First spokeswoman Sandy Theis.
The ex-FBI agent burst onto the political scene in 2010 when he was elected Cuyahoga County's first county executive -- a post that allowed him to reform county government in the wake of a major corruption scandal.
Issue 2 was designed by a group of good-government groups including the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and Ohio Citizen Action. If approved by voters next month, it would strip politicians of their ability to draw their own legislative and congressional district lines and transfer that power to an independent citizens committee.