Freshman U.S. Rep. David J. Trone (D) made his first official appearance in Annapolis Monday since entering Congress earlier this year. He spoke briefly to both the House and the Senate in their evening sessions.
Trone preached the need for cooperation between federal, state and local governments. He also outlined his three top priorities — fighting the opioid crisis, criminal justice reform and more funding for medical research.
But politicians being politicians, there was some interest in knowing how Trone felt about a proposal to drastically change the boundaries of his congressional district, which would make it far more favorable to Republicans – and threaten Trone’s political future if it’s ever enacted.
“Some people are trying to redraw his district,” state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said, as he introduced Trone to the chamber. “Can you imagine that?”
Miller was referring to a proposal floated by a commission that Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) appointed after a federal court found the 6th congressional district lines to be unconstitutional. Hogan’s commission released the proposed map with changes to the 6th and the 8th districts last week. Hogan could introduce the commission’s final product as legislation late in this year’s General Assembly session, but it’s unlikely the legislature will act on it.
Trone did not talk about the redistricting proposal as he greeted House and Senate members Monday night – but he did agree to do so in a brief interview with Maryland Matters.
“I think the proposal right now is not germane to where the issue’s really at,” he said.
Like many Democrats in Maryland, Trone said he is waiting to see if the Supreme Court rules on redistricting, and hopes the justices set a standard for what constitutes excessive partisan gerrymandering.
“I’m hoping for a national solution,” he said.
Trone said he plans to attend the Supreme Court hearing on Maryland’s boundaries on March 26, but he also said that changing the way congressional and legislative districts are drawn is a national imperative.
“Without a doubt it’s the most problematic issue in the country, that’s causing polarization on the left and the right,” he said.