Redistricting plan puts Braley, Loebsack in the same district - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Redistricting plan puts Braley, Loebsack in the same district

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -

A new map shows how the borders of our state's legislative districts might look.  Iowa will be dropping from five representatives in the US House down to just four, since the latest census numbers show the distribution of people has changed in the state.

The layout of the new map is a bit unexpected because it affects almost all of our legislators.  The new map tosses Republican Congressman Steve King and Tom Latham into the same district out west.  It puts Democratic Representatives Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack in the same district in the northeast part of the state.  Representative Leonard Boswell would be in the southwest region, including Des Moines.  But the heavily Democratic region of southeast Iowa would not have a resident member of Congress. 

While this is just the first proposal, and the state legislature will get a chance to offer revision suggestions to the maps, actually making any changes will be challenging.

Eastern Iowa's US House representatives, Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley, could be living in the same legislative district if the new map proposed by the non-partisan Iowa Legislative Services Agency is approved.  Right now, both Loebsack and Braley don't seem too concerned about the change.

"I've been honored to represent much of southeastern Iowa over the course of the last four years.  And while I understand this process is ongoing, as the map stands now, I plan to continue to represent the southeastern part of Iowa," Loebsack said.

Loebsack wouldn't say if that means he'll be moving to reside in what could be his new district.  He currently calls the southern part of Linn County home, so by merely moving a few miles south, he could call the new district home in order to keep his job.

"This has happened before where an incumbent, to avoid facing off against another incumbent, would literally move.  And it would be logical for Loebsack to move to be part of the new district," said KWWL political analyst and Wartburg College professor Jeff Stein.

As for Congressman Braley, he was too tied up in Washington to talk with us, and only released the following statement about the proposed redistricting.

"This map is the first draft and the first step in a process that will determine the new Congressional districts.  We'll all have to wait and see how the process plays out… I'm honored to represent northeast Iowa in Congress, and I'm focused on the very important work we have in front of us."

The Iowa legislature will have a crack at offering up changes to the Congressional lines if it chooses to do so, but making changes will not be easy.

"Realistically, since you cannot divide counties and you want to have districts that are cohesive geographically, it's going to be very hard to come up with another version that will be as proportionate as the one that was proposed," Stein said.

But if state legislators do suggest changes be made, and the Legislative Services Agency makes a new map, Governor Terry Branstad can reject its revisions twice.  If there's still no consensus, the task of redistricting would fall in the hands of the Iowa Supreme Court.  Regardless of how the final maps come out, Congressman Loebsack and Congressman Braley say they will run for re-election in the new district in 2012.

A few times in the past, including 1981 and 2001, the first plan submitted by the Legislative Services Agency, was not adopted.  The General Assembly is required to adopt a new Congressional boundary plan by September 1, and Governor Branstad must sign it by September 15.

A series of public hearings will be held across the state on the proposed legislative lines.  That schedule is as follows:

April 4, 6-8:30 p.m. 

Council Bluffs Public Library, ICN Room

400 Willow Avenue       

That meeting carried interactively at the following sites, same day and time

-North Iowa Area Community College, Room 106, Activity Center

500 College Dr.

Mason City

-Northwest Area Education Agency

Room 206

1520 Morningside Ave.

Sioux City

-Spencer Public Library

21 E. 3rd Street

Spencer

April 5, 7-9 p.m.

Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, 729 21st Street in Bettendorf

April 6, 6:30-9 p.m.

Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids

104 Washington Hall, ICN Room

6301 Blvd. SW

That meeting will be carried interactively same day, same time at the following sites

-Keystone Area Education Agency

2310 Chaney Road

Dubuque

-Great Prairie Area Education Agency

2814 N. Court Street

Ottumwa

-Hawkeye Community College

1501 E. Orange Rd.

Waterloo

April 7, 7-9 p.m.

Wallace State Office Building

502 E. 9th St.

Des Moines

Can't attend a meeting and want to comment?  Call (515) 281-5129 by April 7.

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