posted by 7/29/2011
by Tom Scheck
Read the original story at MPR.
The League of Women Voters, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and other groups will hold a series of public meetings in hopes of drawing a new Minnesota political map. The first citizen meeting will be held Saturday afternoon at Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ offices at 1pm at 2314 University Avenue in St. Paul. Other meetings will be held across the state in coming weeks.
Input from the meetings will be used to propose several maps in September, says Laura Fredrick Wang, with the League of Woman Voters.
“These maps really define political power for the next ten years,” Wang said. “The people who can tell you best what their community looks like, where people work in their community, where they go to school, where they live in their community and how they relate to each other are the people who live there. And if you don’t get out and talk to those people and get a really broad range of input, it’s really hard to capture a community.”
Wang says the groups hope to submit one proposal to the state courts in October. A court-appointed panel will also hold hearings in October to get input on redistricting. The courts will draw the maps in late February if Gov. Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature can’t agree on a map.
The political boundaries for Congress and the Legislature have to redrawn every ten years after the U.S. Census Bureau releases population data. So, the stakes for the new maps are huge because they will be a factor in determining the political makeup of the Minnesota Legislature and the state’s congressional delegation for a decade.
Gov. Dayton vetoed a GOP redistricting plan in May because he said Republicans didn’t gather enough citizen input about the proposal. He and the Democrats have not submitted a proposal of their own.
(Read more about the state’s redistricting battle here)
The League of Women Voters’ Yang says she hopes her plan will present the courts with a broader plan.
The commission, dubbed “Draw the Line Minnesota,” will be represented by members who hold a wide range of political views.
The panel includes:
Bruce Corrie; Concordia University’s Dean of College of Business and Organizational Leadership
Matthew Lewis, spokesman for the Independence Party of Minnesota
Anne Mason; a former spokeswoman for Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy and political director to GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen’s Congressional campaign in 2008.
Kent Kaiser; a professor at Northwestern College who also served as spokesman when Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer held office.
Elda Macias; a marketing director for Ameriprise Financial and former member of the DFL Latino Caucus