The House Committee on Redistricting released its first draft of a proposed new legislative map Monday. The proposal envisions Riley County being divided into four House districts, those presently represented by Democrat Sydney Carlin and Republicans Susan Mosier, Sharon Schwartz and Richard Carlson.
Under the proposal, Carlson’s 61st District would expand to pick up the Zeandale area. Schwartz’s 106th District will also grow, coming south to pick up townships between the Manhattan city limits and Riley.
The impacts on the current 66th and 67th Districts were less clear. Carlin said Tuesday she had not yet seen the map. Although the precise boundaries of that district were not evident, legislative sources said the 67th District contained 23,838 persons, about 1,000 above the ideal figure. Mosier is resigning her legislative seat effective Wednesday, and will be replaced by Tom Phillips. His proposed 67th District will have 23,499 constituents, about 800 above the ideal. Schwartz described the revised 67th District as moving south and west to pick up a portion of Junction City and Geary County.
The map has not yet been voted on, however, and is likely to be changed.
Schwartz, a redistricting committee member, said the proposal will force representatives of rural districts to cover more ground. “As our population continues to decline, representatives of rural districts face this as a reality,” Schwartz said.
Carlson, also on the House committee, said numerous maps were drawn and redrawn, until a compromise was reached.
According to Schwartz, accounting for the population of Fort Riley provided some trouble. She said the post’s population has grown exceedingly in the last 10 years, although a failure by the state to adjust soldiers out of its legislative count — as had been done prior to 2010 — was a second large factor. As a result, State Rep. Vern Swanson, a Clay Center Republican, had to lose around 9,000 people despite the fact that the population of his Clay County base actually declined. To offset that, Schwartz said parts of Junction City and Fort Riley were distributed among other representatives.
Carlson said Rep. James Fawcett, who represents Junction City, lost a considerable amount of land in the new map.