Maps that lay out new boundaries for legislative and congressional districts have advanced another step at the statehouse, but the plan has some detractors.
Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican, says he’s worried because all four congressional districts intersect near Des Moines. Feenstra is from Hull in the far northwest corner of the state.
“For me being in rural Iowa, I have a real concern that someday we could see four congresspeople be from the Des Moines metro,” Feenstra says. “And that’s got to be a concern for everybody in this state.” Feenstra’s not sure he’ll support the redistricting plan when it comes up for a vote in the full Senate.
Governor Branstad must either sign or veto the plan if it wins legislative approval and he has expressed concerns that two sets of Iowa congressmen have been thrown together in two of the districts. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to the congressmen personally about this,” Branstad says. “There’s a lot of people that are affected by it and, obviously, most importantly we need to look at the state of Iowa and the people of Iowa and this is the best and fairest plan for representation in the legislature and the congress.”
Senate President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, says he’s ready to support the plan even though his new district includes several new counties, ten percent more Republicans than his current district — and Kibbie would have to run against a Republican senator in 2012 if the plan is adopted.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in the Senate, probably, that gets hurt worse than I do,” Kibbie says. But Kibbie says Iowa’s non-partisan process for redrawing district lines is the envy of other states. Senator Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, says the map follows the spirit of the law, providing compact and evenly-populated districts.
“I would encourage any senator who’s going to vote against this to do their homework because they’ve got their work cut out for them, in order to justify that vote,” Danielson says.
The proposal has cleared initial committee approval in the House and is on a similar same path in the senate. A vote in the 100-member House and the 50-member Senate vote could happen Thursday.