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Klindt unveils new congressional district map

May 03, 2001
By: Lauren Shepherd
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Columbia's Congressman Kenny Hulshof would get Missouri's statehouse under a redistricting plan unveiled Thursday by the Senate Redistricing Committee Chairman.

Under the proposal, Hulshof would add Jefferson City to his 9th district while losing parts of the Republican-dominated St. Charles County.

The map also combines several maps already submitted by U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, Rep. Todd Akin and Rep. Richard Gephardt. It gives Akin a larger portion of Republican St. Charles County and Lincoln County while adding some northern and western areas to Clay's 1st district.

On the same day, the House Redistricting Committee approved a redistricting plan that includes the compromise reached between Clay and Gephardt. It would put all of Republican St. Charles into Akin's district.

The Senate committee chairman is Sen. David Klint, R-Bethany. He said the lines do not deviate much from the current congressional district map.

"You really don't see much change in the districts when you look at them," Klindt said.

Several Republican congressman, though, would benefit from the map since it keeps most of the wealthier Republican areas in GOP hands.

"I think somebody looked at party affiliation on that map," said Sen. Stephen Stoll, D-Festus. Stoll is one of two Democrats on the Senate committee.

But Klindt said he did not take political consequences into consideration when drawing the map.

"I have not looked at the political data," he said. "It's something I feel like I shouldn't be a part of" -- although he acknowledged getting "pressure from both sides" on how to draw the lines.

Stoll also said he was also concerned that the committee's map did not represent a concensus from the congressmen in the St. Louis area.

"We've spent all this time talking about the 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts," he said. "This reflects none of that conscensus."

But Klindt said the map contained a compromise between the demands of Clay and Gephardt.

Gephardt's district would remain Democratic in the proposal and Clay would retain a black-population majority in his district.

Although Klindt said he did not look at politics, he said he used several other principles when drawing the state-wide lines, including making the district compact and perserving communities of interest.

Klindt said Cole County, which includes Jefferson City, was included in the 9th district in the proposal since it is a part of the same community as Columbia.

"It fit in very, very well," he said. "A lot of those people live together and work together."

One of the main guidelines was "zero deviation," or drawing district lines so that each district is exactly 621,690 people.

Each district follows the rule except the 4th district, which has 621,691 people.

"I think we went to an extreme to accomplish that," said Sen. Bill Foster, R-Poplar Bluff.

Foster and Stoll both expressed some concern that Douglas County -- a mostly rural district of about 10,000 people in the southwestern part of the state -- would be split into three districts.

"That just does not seem to be a good idea at all," Stoll said.

The committee will have the weekend to review census numbers and district demographics before meeting on Monday to vote on the map. Once the committee passes the map, it will go to the Senate floor for debate.

Klindt said the map will look drastically different once it passes through those steps.

"None is naive enough to think we can get something through without some changes being made in it," he said.