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January 18, 2022

12/3/2021 1:10:00 PM
Proposal lands Chisago in new Congressional District #6

The Minnesota Legislature should be viewing maps of political districts that have been redrawn— by the time it reconvenes January 31, 2022.

A process to redraw and rebalance district populations based off the census date  for 2020 has been underway since the redistricting committee meetings started May 15.  Local House member Anne Neu Brindley is serving on this committee.  The Press has not been able to connect with her for comment.  The virtual meeting held November 23 to walk through the mapping of the proposed districts, was monitored on-line here, and Rep. Neu Brindley offered no input.

Rep. Torkelson stated in the Nov. 23 virtual session that the GOP had been afforded no input on the redistricting maps.  Committee Chair Rep. Mary Murphy  reminded him the committee has held eight virtual meetings and heard from dozens of citizens and local officials with suggestions about district lines.

She said the GOP has taken no opportunity to inform the committee what it wants. “I have no idea what you desire,” she said of the Republican Party stance on boundary proposals.  “We heard from citizens...and you had the same resources.”

 The last of public testimony is scheduled this week. According to the Chair of the House Redistricting Committee there’s nothing scheduled for public testimony beyond December 2.

In the coming days there will be a review of the modifications proposed to publishing and reporting requirements, with the final committee vote on this section of the plan set for Dec 9.

Redistricting of local government precincts needs to be done by April 26 to be implemented by candidate filing tat begins May 17.

The redistricting actions are in HF 2632 if you want to search the internet database on the MN Legislature.

There are 134 House Districts and 67 for the Senate.  The goal every 10 years using updated demographics and other factors— is to get to 42,586 persons represented in each House district and 85,172 in each Senate District.

Chisago County under the proposals becomes part of Congressional District 6 and would lie south of the CD8 which it’s currently part of.  The new CD6 would be in the shape of what’s known as “collar counties” of the metro region and Chisago would have counties like Stearns, Benton in its district.

The new proposed Congressional District 8 would consist of mainly the northerly third of Minnesota.

(The Press tried to reach Congressman Pete Stauber for comment on his Eighth District’s future but received no statement or response to voicemail.)
Overall, the redistricting philosophy is to minimize districts crossing county lines, splitting school districts or even dividing county commissioner districts. The committee worked to maintain Native lands all within one district (the new CD8) while also considering grouping together shared types of district economic engines and similarity of issues.

In Chisago County the lines have been cleaned up. Where currently on the south edge of the border with Washington County there is a jagged border that includes Shafer and Franconia areas into territory to the south, in the new maps proposed, Rep. Bob Dettmer of Forest Lake would no longer represent the southeast corner of Chisago County, nor would State Senator Karin Housley (who resides near Stillwater)  have a small chunk in Chisago County.
(See maps.)

There is a five judge redistricting panel that’s been named consisting of MN Supreme Court judges who will hear and decide challenges to any validity of the legislative and Congressional District maps.

Rep. Murphy stated, however,  during the November 23 virtual committee session that she is sure lawmakers can come to agreement on the redistricting process and hopefully not have to involve the courts.

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