Daily Archives: March 16, 2012

House panel endorses congressional redistricting map — small impact on Wichita area

TOPEKA — A congressional redistricting map approved by a House panel Thursday would have little impact on the 4th District, which covers Sedgwick County and several nearby counties.

It jettisons parts of Greenwood and Kingman counties that are currently in the 4th.

The real rub is up in Kansas City. The map peels away parts of the Kansas City metro area and puts them in the predominately rural 1st District that covers the western half of the state. (Here’s an AP article that explores that.)

There are many draft maps that cut the state up in different ways. But all aim to balance the congressional districts based on new Census data. The rural 1st District has to gain people and the more urban 3rd District needs to shrink its boundaries to reduce its population.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, drew the map the committee endorsed on a close vote. It’s called “Eisenhower B.”

He said there’s no pretty way to draw the maps.

“If there is a better way, it has not emerged yet in either the House or Senate,” he said in a news release. “Changing Congressional boundary lines does not change or alter those historic connections. My county, Reno, has bounced back and forth between the 4th and 1st over the years without any noticeable effect in relationship to our connections with Wichita or rural Kansas, e.g.”

The discussion now shifts to the House floor. Read More »