The former executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union has been appointed to a special committee charged with examining the method Indiana uses to draw legislative and congressional districts.
Sheila Kennedy has been named to serve as a lay member of the Indiana Legislature’s Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting. Kennedy, who once ran for Congress as a Republican, was appointed by Indiana House of Representatives Democratic Leader Scott Pelath of Michigan City.
“As I considered who to appoint to this committee, I kept coming back to the record of service of Sheila Suess Kennedy, and I felt she has the proper background to provide a fair and balanced voice that will contribute substantially toward enacting reforms,” Pelath said. “I am pleased she has consented to take part.”
A graduate of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Kennedy currently teaches law and public policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. She served in the administration of former Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut from 1977 to 1980 and ran on the Republican ticket for the 11th Congressional District seat in 1980. From 1992 to 1998, she led the ICLU.
“I am gratified to have the opportunity to help address a problem that is, I think, insufficiently appreciated,” Kennedy said. “Democratic systems depend upon the integrity of elections and that integrity requires giving all voters an equal say in the outcome of those elections to the extent possible.”
Kennedy will join Tom Sugar, former aid to Gov. Evan Bayh, who was appointed to the committee by Indiana Senate Democrat Leader Tim Lanane of Indianapolis.
Republican leaders in the Indiana House and Senate have not yet announced their lay member appointments.
The special redistricting committee was created to help lawmakers decide if the state and federal legislative districts should be drawn by the Indian General Assembly or an independent commission.
Comprised of legislators and lay members, the redistricting committee is expected to spend the next year studying the issue with the goal of having recommendations for the Legislature to consider in its 2017 session.
The committee has no meetings scheduled at this time.