By Mike Andrade

My son will vote for the first time next year. And for his first time, the state of Indiana will have brand new legislative and congressional districts. It should feel like a clean slate, the perfect opportunity for my son's voice to be heard and reflected in his elected representatives. But it doesn't, because Indiana's redistricting process is on course to remain more gerrymandered than 95% of all redistricting plans in the nation. 

Commentary: The words hanging over my head as a young reporter on Inauguration Day

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Town hall meeting to connect Hoosier veterans to needed resources

Rep. Mike Andrade. Photo provided.

Not only may my son's vote be diluted due to his political beliefs, but it will be diluted as he, like many in Northwest Indiana, is Hispanic. According to the latest data from the U.S. Census, Hispanic and Latino Hoosiers make up 7.3% of Indiana's total population, yet I remain the only 100% Hispanic legislator within the Indiana General Assembly. Those who sit in the state legislature should be a reflection of the state's population. We need legislative and congressional districts that allow for the people within our minority communities to elect more leaders who look like them and share their culture. That is how we achieve true representation and grow as a state.

Such legislative and congressional districts cannot and will not be created in Indiana until we break the political stranglehold the supermajority currently has over the process.

We must fight gerrymandering on many fronts, as there are many deceitful tactics used to carve out power for one political party. One strategy is to "crack and pack" minority communities to the point where their votes cannot properly influence an election, no matter how many voters turn up at the polls. To use this tactic to silence any voice is to undermine the very democracy that this nation was founded on. 

The next 10 years will be determined by the new maps that the supermajority draws. These maps will have a ripple effect across the lives of all Hoosiers. They will determine the kind of people that represent Hoosiers in the legislature, which will determine the laws and budgets of the state, which will determine the quality of education our children receive, which will determine the kinds of jobs they can get, and on and on and on until we redraw the maps again in 2031.  For the sake of our children and their future, we must change course and create fair maps.

Mike Andrade, a Democrat, is a state representative from Munster.

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