Districts 12, 29 to growThe preliminary redistricting plan approved by the Legislative Interim Redistricting Committee Wednesday enlarges Districts 12 and 29 but doesn’t pit any of the incumbents against each other. The plan is part of the process of redrawing North Dakota legislative district boundaries. It is performed every 10 years in the year following the census.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The preliminary redistricting plan approved by the Legislative Interim Redistricting Committee Wednesday enlarges Districts 12 and 29 but doesn’t pit any of the incumbents against each other. The plan is part of the process of redrawing North Dakota legislative district boundaries. It is performed every 10 years in the year following the census.
“If we’re staying at 47 districts, the rural districts will have to get larger,” said Chet Pollert, Republican representative for District 29 from Carrington. “I’m not wild about getting larger rural districts but we’d have to go to 53 districts before it would have made some of the rural districts smaller.”
District 29 will now encompass 4,000 square miles and shifts slightly to the south. The district will encompass all of Foster and Stutsman counties with the exception of part of Jamestown which is part of District 12. The portion of Eddy County that had been in District 29 will now become part of District 23 while the portion of LaMoure County in District 29 will expand to include all but the southwest quarter of the county. The eastern portion of Ransom County will also shift from District 24 to District 29.
“It’s nice that it left Foster intact,” Pollert said. “LaMoure was in three districts and now it will be in two districts and the changes will help out District 12 some.”
District 12, made up of five of the six precincts in Jamestown, will gain a small rural component north of Jamestown. The area north of Jamestown between U.S. Highway 20 and the Jamestown Reservoir south of the Bloom Township line was moved from District 29 to District 12. The southwest portion of Jamestown remains in District 29.
“In my mind what makes the most sense would be to add part of Precinct 4 (the southwest part of Jamestown) to District 12,” said Joe Kroeber, Democratic representative from District 12. “They should have kept this an all-Jamestown district.”
Lyle Hanson, a Democratic representative from District 12, is calling for more districts.
“It ain’t over until it’s over,” he said. “I support a couple more districts especially out west. Fargo and Bismarck need districts too. Maybe we need to go to 54 districts but it doesn’t sound like it will go that way.”
The redistricting plan approved by the Interim Legislative Redistricting Committee now goes to the Legislature Management Committee, according to John Bjornson, legal counsel to the North Dakota Legislative Council.
“The Legislature Management Committee can approve or disapprove of the plan but really can’t change it,” he said. “The bill then goes to the special legislative session on Nov. 7 where changes can be made.”
Bjornson said the target population for each legislative district increased from 13,664, determined 10 years ago, to 14,310 after the 2010 census. The district boundaries are set so the population of each district is as close to the target as possible.
“The goal of the process was to have the difference between the smallest and largest legislative districts in North Dakota are less than 9 percent,” Bjornson said. “This plan accomplishes that.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org