According to the Missouri Constitution, every time a decennial census occurs, the new state population must be divided by 163 and new districts drawn to account for population changes and shifts. Each district should contain, as close as possible, the same number of citizens. In theory, everyone receives equal representation. Sounds easy enough, but the elephant in the room is, “where do you draw the lines to make everyone happy?”
The new state population, reported by the 2010 census, is 5,988,927. Divided by 163, is equal to 36,742 per district. 36,742 per district is an approximate 7% increase from the 2000 Census totals. If the existing districts contained populations close to 36,742, the districts, in theory, could remain the same. Unfortunately, the 2010 Census totals demonstrated a need to redraw the boundaries for the 163 districts.
New district lines for the House districts were to be drawn by the House Apportionment Commission. The House Apportionment Commission is selected by the Governor from a pool of candidates nominated by the congressional district committees from the two parties in each of Missouri's nine congressional districts. Each party nominates two candidates to represent their party in each of the nine districts for the governor to choose from. In the end, each party (Republican and Democrat) is guaranteed one committee member for each of the congressional districts, totaling 18 members.
Violet Corbett (R) and Paula Willmarth (D), selected by the Governor to be members of the House Apportionment Commission representing the 4th congressional district (which includes our 121st district), actually came to an agreement on redistricting lines for the district. The other 16 members of the commission could not come to a consensus on new lines for their respective districts. The failure of the commission to come to a consensus forced the issue to be resolved by an Appellate Apportionment Commission appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court; as per our State Constitution.
Understanding this process, you can see how it is somewhat disingenuous, and clearly simplistic, to report the legislature failed to redraw the district lines and forced the Missouri Supreme Court to appoint an Appellate Apportionment Commission to make the new maps. The process is actually much more complicated.
The redistricting map drawn by the six appellate judges divided Johnson County into four House legislative districts (we currently have 3 districts). It also divided Warrensburg between the 51st and the 54th district. Knob Noster and Whiteman AFB will be in the 52nd district with Sedalia, MO. As the dust settled from the alarming, and at times confusing, new district lines, it became clear I should run for office as State Representative for the 54th District in the 2012 elections. The new 54th District contains the largest portion of the 121st District I currently represent. The 54th encompasses Centerview, Chilhowee, Green Ridge, Holden, Kingsville, La Tour, Leeton, the western half of Warrensburg,
and a small portion of Windsor. I am very familiar with the communities of Johnson & Pettis counties included in the 54th District and look forward to working very hard as the 54th District’s State Representative to the Missouri House.
If you would like to voice your thoughts and concerns, both positive and negative, to the Appellate Judge Redistricting Commission, I have included their information below. I encourage you to call them and give them your opinion on the redistricting maps.
Appellate Judge Apportionment Commission:
Chair - Judge Lisa White Hardwick - 816.889.3600
Vice-Chair - Judge Roy L. Richter - 314-539-4300
2012 Legislative Session Priorities
Economic Development, Spending and Taxes, Education, and Healthcare, are just a few of the areas the Legislature will be focused on during the 2012 Regular Session. In the area of economic development, we plan to make it easier for entrepreneurs to access vital information necessary for the planning and development stages of starting a new business by pooling this information together in one website. While regulations on starting up a business may be grounded in sound reasoning, multiple layers of regulation can make the process of starting a new business a regulatory nightmare and actually discourages the investment and job creation our state desperately needs. The pool of information offered at this website should prove to be invaluable in helping cut through the red tape involved in business development and job creation. If we can make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses, more Missourians will be able to find employment.
I will discuss more about the 2012 Legislative Session Priorities in subsequent issues of the Capitol Report.
Visiting the Capitol
Anytime you find yourself near our Missouri State Capitol (201 West Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65101) please feel free to pay a visit. Our state boasts one of the most beautiful Capitol buildings in the nation and you are welcome anytime.
Ways to Keep in Contact
I consider communication with my constituents a high priority. My weekly Monday morning chat at 8:45 a.m. with Woody at KOKO Radio on AM 1450 is one of the best ways I’ve found for you to literally “hear” from me. During session or interim, tune in every Monday morning at 8:45 to hear the latest concerning District 121.
Please share this report with anyone you feel would be interested in this information. It is genuinely a privilege to serve as your state representative.