Keep like-minded communities together and be more open about the mapping process. Those were key themes expressed by speakers who packed an auditorium at Forsyth Technical Community College for a public meeting on the state's redistricting efforts. 

Rev. Willard Bass of Winston-Salem urged lawmakers to be transparent and fair as they redraw the state's political boundaries.

“Our nation is in a turmoil right now,” he said. “You can make a difference. Our nation needs you, our state needs you, and our cities need you. Thank you and do the right thing.”

Tina Forsberg is chairwoman of the Sixth District Republicans. She told the 11-member bipartisan panel that she trusts the process but wants more competitive districts.

“It will lead to better voter turnout and people really thinking that their vote can make a difference,” she said.

Other speakers wanted more public input, especially after the preliminary maps have been drawn.

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