U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher (center) and field representative Dale Hendon (left) talked with retired insurance agent Jim Moore of Dresden during an event at Obion County Central High School
Counties across the state will soon shuffle voting districts if the General Assembly approves measures this year to re-draw district lines after the 2010 Census reflected several changes in population.
With the unveiling of proposed changes in representative, senatorial and congressional district lines, the Republican Party is drawing criticism from state Democrats.
“I wish this was not a political issue,” state Rep. Andy Holt said last week at the announcement his district will potentially shift to include portions of Obion County.
“It was based purely on population. House Speaker Beth Harwell was very clear of her intention to serve the people throughout the redistricting process. It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together,” Holt added.
Every 10 years as the U.S. Census is tallied, district lines are re-drawn.
Holt said from the beginning of the process, between four representatives, it was likely one would be districted out.
That was not the case, however, as Holt gained some residents of Obion County in his representative region.
The proposed 76th district will still encompass Weakley and Carroll counties.
Added to those counties is a portion of Obion County, including South Fulton, part of Rives and residents of Union City who cast ballots at the Eddie Cox Senior Center and Obion County fairgrounds.
On the heels of the possible changing of the district lines announcement for the House of Representatives came a proposal to re-draw Senatorial district lines.
Under this proposal, District 24 state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden will see his district dropped from nine counties to six counties.
Herron represents Benton, Decatur, Henry, Henderson, Lake, Obion, Perry, Stewart and Weakley counties. The redistricting would purge Obion, Weakley, Henry, Gibson, Carroll and Benton counties into the 24th Senatorial District.
While District 24 is set to decrease and the 76th Representative District would see an expansion, the 8th Congressional District is not immune to the district lines shift.
The 8th Congressional District, represented by Stephen Fincher, is slated to change with a proposed addition of a deeper portion of Shelby County.
For three decades, Shelby County was composed of three congressional districts. The new plan, if approved by the state General Assembly, would split the county into only two districts. Shelby County, with a population of 927,644 is larger than a single congressional district by itself
As it stands, the 8th District extends into Middle Tennessee counties. Under the proposal, the line for the 8th District would shift west of the Tennessee River. In addition to eastern Shelby County, it would include Tipton, Fayette, Haywood, Madison, Lauderdale, Dyer, Obion, Lake, Weakley, Henry, Carroll, Gibson and Crockett counties.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Harwell released maps and proposed changes in district lines last week.
The General Assembly will convene today (Tuesday) in Nashville and it is charged with finalizing the proposed district maps.
The legislation and proposed maps are available at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/redist/redistricting.html.