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Political Power Shifting Away From Rural TN During Redistricting

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Political Power Shifting Away From Rural TN During Redistricting

State House Representative John Mark Windle said political power in Tennessee is shifting to the large metro areas.

The House Redistricting Committee held its first meeting Wednesday. As a member Windle said census data shows a clear separation of power between rural areas and suburbs.

“We’ve not seen that in Tennessee ever, not in the history of the state,” Windle said. “It’s going to be reflected when the lines are drawn for the state house and state senate seats and also for congressional seats. The shift has happened and we’ll just have to deal with it.”

Windle said the Upper Cumberland held its own against the growth surrounding Davidson County. He said Gallatin, Lebanon and Murfreesboro are some of the areas gaining power.

For our region, Windle said Putnam, Van Buren and Cumberland Counties saw significant growth. However, he anticipates some house districts in our region will grow in size.

“The areas that really lost population are on both ends of the state,” Windle said. “West Tennessee lost a significant percentage of the population and the upper east did not grow like I expected it to. So the Upper Cumberland will mostly remain static. The house districts, many of those will get a little bit larger because we did not keep up our population growth with the rest of the state. So if you represent a small rural district and you had three or four or five counties in the past, now you’re going to have another county or another half a county added to your representative district and the rural areas will be spread out even further than they are now.”

Windle said he expects the next step in redistricting will be looking at redrawn map submissions. Legislators will have until April 7, 2022 to finalize district maps.

“The maps haven’t been drawn, the rules were set yesterday (Wednesday) at the committee meeting,” Windle said. “I expect a fair process, I feel certain that Speaker Sexton is going to do what’s right and he will be fair with each member, in each area of the state. The question is where the districts end up and we don’t know yet because we have not gotten all the precinct numbers in yet and they’ve not been crunched into the computer to find out what has to happen.”

Windle said he expects to see some concrete boundaries by January or February 2022. Windle is one of four democrats on the 16 member redistricting committee.

The post Political Power Shifting Away From Rural TN During Redistricting appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.