Some Kansas Residents Unhappy About New Congressional Redistricting Plan

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Some Wyandotte County residents aren't very happy about a Kansas lawmaker's plan that would move the bulk of the county into a rural congressional district that stretches all the way to the Colorado border.

On Wednesday, a house committee approved a redistricting plan that moves urban Wyandotte County into the mostly rural First Congressional District.

Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder holds the Third Congressional District seat that was held by Democrat Dennis Moore for many years. But since the latest U.S. Census came out, lawmakers have been drawing up all kinds of new maps to change the districts to adjust for population changes.

But Cindy Cash, President and CEO of the KCK Chamber of Commerce isn't happy with the latest proposal. She says Wyandotte and Johnson Counties belong together, they share similar goals and problems.

"Especially now over the last 10 years with all that has taken place in Wyandotte County and the continued growth in Johnson County, that just cements us closer together as communities of like interest," said Cash.

The new map proposed by Republican House Leader Mike O'Neal, would put urban Wyandotte County into the sprawling mostly ruralĀ  first congressional district. Representative O'Neal has said that you can't make everyone happy, every map splits at least one city or county.

He adds that western Kansas continues to lose population, and as that population trend continues, this map will make the most sense.

But House democrats say it's a clear case of gerrymandering, to dilute the Democratic vote in Kansas. Cash says what concerns her more is the makeup of the district, because balancing urban, rural and military interests and needs won't be easy.

"Is that fair to the urban core? Is that fair to Ft Leavenworth? And is that fair to rural?" said Cash.

One of the Wyandotte County lobbyists in Topeka today told lawmakers that the size of the district would be a hardship for a congressman, noting that it would spread from the Missouri boarder to Colorado, almost 400 miles, plus include most of western Kansas.

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