The Kansas Legislature Special Committee on Redistricting is touring the State taking public comments about how to re-draw Congressional and State Legislative district boundaries. The committee will hold public hearings in KCK and Leavenworth this Friday.
The KCK hearing is set for 9am-11:30am at the Jack Reardon Convention Center, 500 Minnesota Avenue in the Wyandotte 1 room. The Leavenworth hearing will be from 2:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m. at Kansas City Kansas Community College-Leavenworth Center, 225 Cherokee in room LVC 17.
A major topic of conversation has been a rumored plan to remove Wyandotte County from the 3rd Congressional District and place it in the 1st Congressional District which covers all of western Kansas. The Unified Government presented testimony opposing such a change because it would split up Wyandotte and Johnson Counties, placing them in separate Congressional districts with different Congressman.
Redistricting is mostly about math–making sure every district has the same number of people– but the process of drawing those lines offers significant challenges. Keeping communities of interest together and ensuring district lines are as compact as possible are two of those challenges. Another is resisting the temptation to gerrymander boundary lines for perceived partisan political advantage.
Johnson County and Wyandotte County are now more communities of interest than perhaps ever in their history. Both are significant contributors to the State economy, including premiere tourism and shopping attractions. The nature of the urban and regional issues facing both counties mandates that Wyandotte and Johnson Counties are represented by the same Congressman.
The legislative committee has already met in Chanute, Hutchinson, Manhattan, Pittsburg, Salina, Lawrence, Overland Park and Wichita. In December, the Special Committee on Redistricting will release its report and proposed maps to the 2012 Legislature.
Individuals wishing to present testimony at the KCK or Leavenworth public hearings should contact Corey Carnahan, Kansas Legislative Research Department, at (785) 296-3181 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
Information courtesy of Unified Government
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