Hogan Names Six Members to Commission Redrawing 6th District 

    Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) named six additional members to a commission that is charged with rewriting the boundaries of the 6th congressional district after an order from federal judges.

    Hogan has named the commission the Emergency Commission on Sixth Congressional District Gerrymandering.

    It was established in November after a federal judicial panel released an opinion ordering new congressional district boundaries before the 2020 election for the 6th District, which was challenged in court as an unconstitutional gerrymander aimed at diminishing the influence of Republican voters in Western Maryland.

    The members named on Thursday are two Republicans, two Democrats and two unaffiliated voters.

    Overall, the commission will have nine members, including three registered Democrats, three registered Republicans, and three registered voters not affiliated with either party. The commission’s meetings are required to be open to the public and live-streamed.

    “Free and fair elections are the very foundation of American democracy and the most basic promise that those in power can pledge to the citizens we represent,” Hogan said in a written statement. “This nonpartisan redistricting commission will result in a fair, open, and transparent redistricting process for the sixth congressional district.”

    The governor’s office released short biographies of the members named on Thursday:

    Maury S. Epner, a registered Republican, lived in the 6th Congressional District for more than 30 years, and has served as a federal prosecutor, private practice attorney, and former adjunct professor of law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. He currently resides in Montgomery County.

    Deborah Lundahl, a registered Republican, currently resides in Frederick County, where she serves on the County Ethics Commission, and works as an accounting manager for Redeemer Lutheran Church and program administrator for Building Veterans. She is a former public information officer for the Carroll County Government and nursing home program coordinator for the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

    Christopher Howard, a registered Democrat living in Anne Arundel County, is a software engineer with Clarity Business Solutions in Severna Park, and an adjunct professor of Computer Science and Technology at University of Maryland University College. His career focus is supporting technology development in defense and aerospace industries, and he is a member of the local chapter of National Society of Black Engineers.

    Luis T. Gutierrez Jr., a registered Democrat, has over 20 years of experience in biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries, and is currently a self-employed consultant to medical product developers. He is also the former president, CEO and board member of Theranostics Health, Inc. (now Avant Diagnostics). He resides in Montgomery County.

    Matthew Douglas is registered as an unaffiliated voter and currently resides in Montgomery County. He works as a senior policy analyst for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has experience as a civics teacher, and has worked in the Kentucky attorney general’s office.

    Kathleen Jo Parson Tabor is registered as an unaffiliated voter and works as a solo practitioner attorney in Elkridge. She serves as a gubernatorial appointee on the Maryland Horse Industry Board and is founder and chair of the Agriculture Law Section of the Maryland Bar Association. She currently resides in Howard County.

    The applicants were vetted by the three members previously named to the commission by Hogan, the former co-chairs of an earlier commission he created to explore the creation of a nonpartisan redistricting process in the state: retired federal Judge Alexander Williams, a registered Democrat, and Walter Olson, a registered Republican and Cato Institute fellow. The third member is Ashley Oleson, an unaffiliated voter. About 300 applications for the remaining six positions were received.

    Hogan has said that he intends to continue pressing in 2019 to change state law to create an independent redistricting commission.

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    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.