State Sen. Lourey Guides News Director Jesse Logan Through The Redistricting Labyrinth (Audio)

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 11:40 am

On Tuesday, the new legislative district maps for the state of Minnesota were released, and the News Director of WCMP almost lost his mind and the rest of his hair trying to figure them out. Our Jesse Logan called on State Sen. Toney Lourey to help him decipher the changes.

While some things will remain the same, more than one in five Minnesota state legislators were placed in new districts with other incumbents. In fact, the Pioneer Press reports the new boundary lines will “pair” 16 Senators and 30 House members, and create 23 open seats with no incumbents – eight in the Senate and 15 in the House.

One such pairing near our listening area has two Republican senators, veteran Ray Vandeveer of Forest Lake and first-termer Ted Lillie of Lake Elmo now in the same Washington County district. The bottom line is that these new districts guarantee major changes at the Capitol come November, when every member of the Legislature will be up for re-election.

Here locally, the State legislative districts are also changing. The aforementioned News Director relied heavily on Senator Lourey to explain things in this brave new world we’ve now entered. First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand this: most of our listening area used to be part of State District 8, which has now become State District 11.

A northern portion of Isanti County, which used to be in State District 8, is not in the newly formed District 11. That was done to put all of Isanti County in one district. Meanwhile, the newly formed District 11 has lost the western half of Kanabec County, although Mora and the eastern half of Kanabec County will remain with it’s former grouping. Ogilvie is now in the State District to the west of District 11. Senator Lourey told us that most of the population of Kanabec County will still be with the newly formed District 11, although he said he would miss those constituents he’ll no longer represent.

Nothing really changed as far as Pine County goes; it’s all included in what used to be District 8 and is now District 11. Also, all of Carlton County will now be included now in District 11, as before, Esko and Thomson Township were previously a part of the district just to the north of the old District 8. Got it?

Essentially, District 8 becomes District 11 and the courts dropped portions of Isanti County and Kanabec County while adding that northeastern portion of Carlton County. Believe it or not, Senator Lourey said that his district (what used to be 8 and is now 11) was one of the districts least affected by the new changes. Lourey estimated that “over 90 percent of the population (in what is now District 11) is the same (as what used to be District 8).”

Now just for clarification, the 8th Congressional District is the land mass that goes all the way up to the Canadian border, which is represented currently in Washington by Rep. Chip Cravaack. That Congressional District changed very little, although it had to add 2,649 people in order to attain the necessary population in the district. In order to add enough people, the Minnesota courts moved the preexisting line that split Beltrami County, meaning the entire county is now in District 8.

Again, the 8th Congressional District changed very little and deals with our representation in Washington. The 8th State District is now the 11th State District and went through the changes outlined above.

Our News Director (and Sports Director) also asked Sen. Lourey why it was easier for folks to fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket than figure out these legislative district maps. Sen. Lourey provided some useful information on where folks can go if they want to become more informed on the process here in Minnesota. Sadly, Sen. Lourey won’t be offering up his sleeper picks for March Madness, but we do appreciate his time, and have placed his interview with Jesse Logan here as well.

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