The upcoming legislative session may be the last for more than 50 state lawmakers, thanks to redistricting. Many legislators are retiring, rather than face campaigning in the newly redrawn districts based on 2000 census data. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says redistricting always creates a lot of turnover.Rants says new members always bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the legislative process. He admits, though, losing long-time incumbents can have its disadvantages. He says they lose knowledge and historical understanding of some of the arcane issues the legislature works on, but he says someone always steps up and fills the void.Work often slows down at first while new members get accustomed to the legislative process. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says the pace can be difficult for new members. He says the hardest part is to help them recognize that you can’t change everything all at once. Gronstal says the system is designed to be “evolutionary and not revolutionary.”Gronstal says he’s excited by the pending turnover because he says it traditionally helps the minority party, which at this time is the democratic party.
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