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Proposed Redistricting Splits Marion County

Posted: Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 9:53 am
Author: KNIA/KRLS News-Samantha Smith/Dr. Bob Leonard

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The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency today released the first version of their redistricting plan for the state of Iowa. In plans for both the House and the Senate, Pella and other portions of the northeastern section of the county would be in different districts than Knoxville and other communities in Marion County.

According to the plan, in the House the majority of Marion County would fall in House District 28 which also includes the eastern half of Lucas County with the exception of Chariton, and the southeast portion of Jasper County. Pella and surrounding area would be part of House District 79 which also includes the western half of Mahaska County including the city of Oskaloosa.

Currently, the majority of Marion County is in House District 71 and represented by Republican Jim Van Engelenhoven of Pella. The southern portion of the county, including Melcher-Dallas and Bussey are in District 72 and represented by Republican Richard D. Arnold of Lucas County. The new proposed map groups all Marion County communities together, with the exception of Pella. Therefore, much of the area now represented by Jim Van Engelenhoven would fall in a different District. This realignment places Van Engelenhoven in the same district as Representative Guy Vander Linden, a Republican from Oskaloosa.

In the state Senate, the majority of Marion County is in proposed District 14 which also includes all of Clarke, Lucas, Decatur and Wayne Counties and the southeastern portion of Jasper County. Pella and the surrounding community is divided from the remainder of the county and would be part of Senate district 40 which includes all of Mahaska, Monroe and Appanoose Counties and the western portion of Wapello County.

All of Marion County, including Pella is currently represented by Senate Majority Leader Paul McKinley of Chariton. Under the new plan, Pella would not be represented by McKinley. McKinley is the only State Senator that resides in the proposed district.

With respect to statewide changes, due to a decrease in state population according to the 2010 Census, Iowa will have 4 U.S. Representatives instead of the 5 districts we’ve had since 2001. Marion County is placed in the 2nd district which includes the southeastern quarter of the state. For the national district, counties cannot be split up. No member of Congress currently resides in proposed 2nd District.

If the House, the Senate, or the Governor reject this proposal, the Legislative Service Agency will prepare a second map. If the second map is rejected as well, either body of the legislature can amend the map. If the other body or the governor reject the third map, the Iowa Supreme Court decides.

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