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Righting a wrong when creating senate district

Every decade, the new census figures are used for the foundation of our representative form of government. They are used to create congressional and legislative districts aimed at balancing out our votes over the next 10 years.

Ten years ago, a political stalemate in the Oregon Legislature had a direct effect on our far-flung corner of the state. Drawing the new maps for legislative districts was given over to then Secretary of State Bill Bradbury.

In either a slip of the pen or deliberate gerrymandering, Brookings was linked to Roseburg to create a senate district. It was an odd decision, given that Bradbury started his career by representing Southwestern Oregon, and should have known that our common interests lie more up the coast, with Coos Bay-North Bend.

It was more than a year before State Sen. Jeff Kruse, (R-Roseburg) would make it down to visit the new corner of his district. We remember the moment distinctly, because we got to introduce him to the chair of the Curry County Republican Committee.

To his credit, both Kruse and the former senator who was ousted by Bradbury’s map, Ken Messerle of Coos Bay, testified last weekend that the legislative districts on the coast need to be vertical, not horizontal.

And to their credit, the Democratic and Republican co-chairs of the House Redistricting Committee are making it clear that they will be working toward “communities of interest”

 

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