- Share Your Testimony
Help us shape the narrative for legislative leaders to understand the impact their map selection can have on your day-to-day life. From education to healthcare to crime, our voice matters and the choice of who represents us is equally important. Need some tips? Check out the other testimonies that have been shared on our Testimonies page! Or read up on what to include below in the section entitled, “Refining Public Testimony,” which includes mandatory information that you should include. Gather valuable resources (statistics, etc.) below.
- Select the proposed redrawn map that impacts the area you are testifying about.
Testimony Submission Form
Complete the form below to submit your testimony. Feel free to refer to the guide below, “Developing and Refining Public Testimony” for examples of information you might include.
Developing and Refining Public Testimony
The following outline is meant for general guidance and assistance when crafting public testimony (written and/or oral). You can pick and choose the items or sections that fit you and your situation and leave those that don’t. Or feel free to devise your own.
Even if you cannot represent your organization with your public testimony, you can still submit testimony as a private citizen, resident, or voter (however you’re most comfortable). In fact, submitting as an individual might work to support our position. From what we’ve heard, the more people who submit written (and/or oral) public testimony and maps, the better.
When developing your testimony for written and/or oral delivery, we’ve also heard that personalization is key. In other words, making testimony about you and your community, as opposed to following a template or sample, verbatim. We’re told that the legislators don’t like reading or hearing what they consider “canned” testimony or submissions that say the same thing and seem to be cookie-cutter copies. These submissions won’t be taken seriously or given credibility.
Note: The information included below under State Districts has been excerpted and altered from the original written testimony for the purpose of this example. The testimony was submitted by one of our group members for the August hearings.
With these considerations in mind, you can start your testimony by talking about yourself.
Heading: (KLRD requirement; heading info should be on each page)
For example: My name is (first, last) and I am a resident of Wyandotte County, specifically KCK, westside, center city, Piper, Quindaro area, NE area, Edwardsville, Argentine, Turner, Bonner Springs, etc. My name is first, last and I am a resident of Johnson County, specifically Overland Park, Roeland Park, Mission, Olathe, Leawood, Merriam, Shawnee, etc.
If you’re concerned about appearing that you represent an organization:
Could instead say: E.g. I am also a member of X organization, an employee of or the ___________ (position) of Y nonprofit, or Z company, etc., but I do not represent that agency/organization/company.
Could also say: E.g. I have 3 children/grandchildren who are growing up in this community and who attend X elementary school, Y middle school, Z high school, or ABC college. I belong to/volunteer for church affiliation, neighborhood group, parent group/PTA, social/civic club, sorority, fraternity, etc.
Could further say: E.g. I have been meeting with other residents and community groups (can name groups) to become better informed about redistricting and to define my communities of interest.
Purpose of Testimony: Why you’re here (if in person) /or writing (if submitting written testimony only):
E.g. I’m here to support/speak against …..
Describe a Map of Your Proposed District:
Examples of Map Descriptions – 3rd Congressional District and State Senate District:
3rd Congressional District E.g.: Given that both counties increased in population based on the 2020 census, I am aware that they cannot be kept entirely in tact in order to stay within the mandates of the U. S. Constitution. However, in the attached map exhibit, Wyandotte County can stay whole as can most of Johnson County. There are western, southwestern and southern cities and townships in Johnson County including Aubry Township, Spring Hill, Spring Hill Townships, DeSoto, Gardner, Gardner Townships, Overland Park 6-18 and Olathe Township 0-07 that can be moved to another district, allowing the major metro-area majority to remain in-tact. This configuration (Exhibit 1 – Proposed Third Congressional District Map, below, p.3) puts the population of the Third Congressional District at 734,483, well within the required limits.
State Senate District E.g.: I am asking you to draw our state representative district to maintain the unity of the Argentine neighborhood and not divide it between two districts that include other areas.
Another concern of mine is in our state representative district, we are split in half, one half paired with Rosedale to the south, the other with Turner to the west. The division is totally arbitrary, it crosses the lines dividing elementary schools, grocery stores and communities. Indeed, because my state rep is from Turner which has many more voters than my little carved out section of Argentine, the rep doesn’t represent my interests. If Argentine doesn’t constitute enough population to have a unified district, then please pair us with Rosedale with which we have many more similarities than Turner.
The attached exhibit (Exhibit 2), shows how Argentine can be kept unified in a state senate district, which also includes Turner and Rosedale. The district borders roughly include Leavenworth Rd., Kansas Turnpike, Riverview Ave., 110th Street, and Speaker Rd. to the west. It includes KS River to the south going east to Holliday drive and 47th Street and further east to Switzer St. to Johnson Drive and back up to 47th Street and east to KCMO, the eastern border.
Describe Your Community and What’s Important to You (can explain why):
E.g.: Argentine is a very diverse community. It is filled with churches of many denominations. There are several languages spoken here. [Can include other important landmarks, events, community engagements/activities/services.]
What’s important to you:
E.g.: Quality schools, safe and well-maintained neighborhoods, community services (trash pick-up, street cleaning, street lights, street paving, potholes filled, snow removal, stop signs/traffic signals, etc.), well-stocked and accessible grocery stores, community green spaces, (e.g., parks, walkways, bike paths, playgrounds) youth activities and sports teams, swimming pools, etc., accessible healthcare, schools, etc. Any other issues/services (or absence of) that are important to you.
What we share with another community (E.G. WYCO/JOCO):
For District 3 Communities of Interest: Can pick one or more from list below to expand on, or any others that you prefer. This is also a good place to add statistics, E.g. (1) My agency services 400 people per month through its food bank grocery giveaways. (2) My church provides after-school tutoring for 25 students per day, 3 days a week during the school year, and 250 students in its summer tutoring program. (3) On days that multiple trains pass through our area, the pollution is so bad that the Environmental Protection Agency rates the air……
In addition, you might explain how you see your overall community or county compared with another (Can include data from data collection sources, e.g., MARC, U.S. Census, EPA, UG, WEDC-Wyandotte Economic Development Council, UCS -United Community Services of JOCO)
- Urban vs rural? (similarities)
- People or population (similarities)
- Community (similarities)
- Educational opportunities (shared)
- Healthcare systems (shared)
- Employment/employment mobility (across counties)
- Transportation (freeways & highways) (shared)
- Environmental (similarities)
Summarize and restate stance or reason for testimony:
- Thank the members of the committee for the opportunity…..
- Redirect their attention to the Exhibits/Attachments.
- Restate the goals/purpose for your testimony.
Resources for bolstering your oral and/or written testimony
Good suggestions at: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/6-tips-making-effective-comments-redistricting-hearing
EPA – Environmental Protection Agency, EPA.gov
- My Air (Air Quality) , My Water, My Energy, etc.
Clean Air Now – cankc.org
WEDC – Wyandotte Economic Development Council, wedc.org
- Population Stats
- Major Employers
- Key Industries
MARC – Mid America Regional Council, marc.org
- Data and reports by County
UCS – United Community Services of JOCO, ucsjoco.org
- Community data for 6-county region
- Population Trends
- Poverty Trends
City Data: http://www.city-data.com
Statistical Atlas: https://statisticalatlas.com/United-States/Overview
U.S. Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov Click the Surveys/Programs tab
Wyco Quick Facts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/wyandottecountykansas
Joco Quick Facts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/johnsoncountykansas
American Community Survey: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs
Race and Ethnicity Population Changes: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2021/population-changes-nations-diversity.html
General & Specific Redistricting Info:
KLRD – Kansas Legislative Research Department
KS Legislature Redistricting Process
Redistricting Email: [email protected]
Brennan Center for Justice, brennancenter.org
NCSL – National Conference of State Legislatures, ncsl.org