With no organized outside opposition or even an out-spoken critic in the legislature, it appears the Iowa House and Senate are poised to approve a plan for reconfiguring legislative and congressional districts.
Every 10 years the district lines must be redrawn to reflect the latest population information from the Census. Senate President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, expects the House and Senate will vote on the plan tomorrow.
“It’s really amazing to me to make four congressional districts and not split counties and get within 84 people to the smallest to the largest,” Kibbie says. “I think that is incredible.”
Because other states saw larger population gains over the past decade, Iowa is losing one congressional seat. The redistricting plan would throw Republican Congressmen Tom Latham and Steve King together in the new fourth district and it would throw Democratic Congressmen Bruce Braley and Dave Loeback together in the new first district, although there’s already talk of two of those congressmen moving to avoid head-to-head match-ups in 2012 of two incumbent congressmen. Kibbie says overall, it appears to be a fair plan for legislative districts, too.
“I have watched this a long time and it treats Democrats and Republicans fairly equal,” Kibbie says, “and so that’s another reason I think we should adopt this plan.”
Senator Bill Dix, a Republican from Shell Rock, says there were “largely positive” comments from Iowans at the four public hearings held around the state to gauge reaction to the plan.
“I think our responsibility is to support a plan that ensures that the people of Iowa are equally and fairly represented,” Dix says. “The plan as it’s presented appears to me that it meets that criteria.”
The Senate State Government Committee endorsed the redistricting plan this morning. Senator Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, is chairman of that committee and he sees no obstacle to taking a vote in the full Senate on Thursday.
“Let’s let Iowa know that this is going to be the plan for the next 10 years and let’s pass it,” Danielson says, “and let folks get to work on what those districts look like.”
Danielson says he hasn’t heard a single legislator say he or she will vote against the plan.