Earlier this year, Lou Gentile introduced himself to residents of Washington County, after it was learned that, through redistricting, he would be representing them in the Ohio State Senate.
"I've had a commitment to public service; I served in the Governor's Office of Appalachia for years," the 30th District Democrat said at a June appearance in Marietta, "I served in the Ohio House and now, the Senate. I'm now anxious to earn the trust of the people in Southeast Ohio and make sure they get the representation they deserve now in Columbus."
A state supreme court decision now affirms Gentile's constituents will include Washington County residents. The high court Tuesday upheld legislative districts largely drawn up by Republicans. It rejected claims by Democrats the Republicans sought an advantage in drawing the districts, adding the state constitution doesn't require political neutrality in doing so.
State Representative Andy Thompson, just re-elected to a second term in the legislature, is pleased with the ruling, hoping it settles a dispute that has gone on nearly two years.
"The court has said this process was constitutional, and I hope we don't have to go through this constantly," said the 93rd district Republican. "I hope to know who I'm representing, and where the lines lie."
Under the current districts, Thompson now basically shares Marietta, his home town, with Democratic State Representative Debbie Phillips.