TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas House Redistricting Committee is about to get to work, and the Kansas suburbs of the Kansas City metro will be center stage.
“We’ll talk a lot about Johnson County over the next several weeks I suspect, so thank you for allowing me to speak,” Stephanie Clayton, D-Overland Park, said during a meeting on redrawing the Kansas House, Senate and Congressional lines Wednesday.
Clayton said she has a good relationship with the Republicans in the committee and hopes there won’t be any gerrymandering.
“I know that ‘they’ want to make sure they’re doing the right thing,” Clayton said of Republicans. “Of course, I will be watching out for those types of things, but honestly, I think it’s best for us to begin with an optimistic spirit and understand that especially in the House, we tend to get down to business and we know how to get along.”
Currently the 3rd Congressional District covers all of Wyandotte and Johnson counties, along with part of Miami County. But Johnson County’s population has grown so much in the last 10 years, the district has to be redrawn.
“We can’t keep the two counties intact and together without going to court,” Rep. Charlotte Easau, R-Olathe, said Wednesday after the meeting.
Easau said one idea is to break up the district by the county line between Wyandotte and Johnson and either take it north into Leavenworth or further south into more of Miami County. Easau also said making the district smaller by dividing it by a major highway is an idea.
“I know there are folks that like those ideas. I know there are folks that absolutely detest those ideas,” she continued Wednesday. “We’re keeping all of that in mind, and I really don’t know which way we’re going to go, but my mind isn’t set. I’m looking to see what is the best map we can get for what we have to do.”
The State House Redistricting Committee meets again Tuesday, Jan. 18 at noon. The State Senate Redistricting Committee met Wednesday afternoon as well. No word when they are going to meet again though.
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