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House Unveils New District Map

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 03 Mar 2011 02:44pm | comments
Law makers examine a large version of the new district map.

The Mississippi House could vote today on a newly redrawn district map based on 2010 census data. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the new district map reflects population shifts over the last ten years....

House redistricting Chairman Tommy Reynolds of Charleston unveiled the newly redistricted state map yesterday.

It quickly passed committees and moved to the house floor where debate is expected to pick up first thing this morning.

Reynolds says he is happy with the results despite the inherent challenges involved with drawing new voting districts.

"This is what you get in the redistricting process. Someone will say 'well I am just 5,000 short. Why don't you take it from over there, that next district'. Well that is fine, except that person is now 10,000 people short because they had lost 5,000. So you just have to have a vision for the whole state," Reynolds said.

The House map increases the number of minority districts to 44 and cuts in half the number of split precincts, to less than 200.

Representative Wanda Jennings of Southaven, who is the only house republican on the joint reapportionment committee, says she wants to study the map a little closer to make sure it is fair to Republicans.

"I voted for it today. Let us look at the analysis. We have the information we need to see if ultimately it is a go," Jennings said.

Because of population shifts, DeSoto County received two new districts and Hattiesburg also received a new district.

To achieve this, district 35 in east Mississippi is being eliminated. Two Hinds county districts are being consolidated and two districts in the delta are being combined.

District 73, represented by Jim Ellington of Raymond, is one of the districts being consolidated.

"I now longer have a district by myself. I am now incorporated a currently black district and as a Republican, it will be very difficult for me to win," Ellington said.

Ellington, who has been a representative for 24 years, says he is not happy with the result but will accept the changes if it means Republicans have a better shot of winning the house.

"I am looking at the big picture. We have a goal to change the leadership in the House. And if under this plan we change accomplish that goal, than I am all for it," Ellington said.

The senate is expected to begin discussing their redistricting map on Monday. 

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Law makers examine a large version of the new district map.


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