Redistricting pairs Crow Wing, Aitkin counties in Senate district | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Redistricting pairs Crow Wing, Aitkin counties in Senate district

Posted: February 21, 2012 - 3:36pm
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Crow Wing and Aitkin counties will be paired in a new Senate District 10 that will straddle over the north side of Mille Lacs Lake.
Crow Wing and Aitkin counties will be paired in a new Senate District 10 that will straddle over the north side of Mille Lacs Lake.

Crow Wing and Aitkin counties will be paired in a new Senate District 10 that will straddle over the north side of Mille Lacs Lake.

House District 10B will include Aitkin and most of Crow Wing County with the more populous are eastern edge of Crow Wing County making up House District 10 A.

Steve Wenzel, a Central Lakes College instructor who served 29 years as a legislator and also served in President George W. Bush’s Agriculture Department, said Crow Wing and Morrison have been in the same Senate District in 30 years.

As a Little Falls lawmaker, Wenzel went through three redistricting plans.

Redistricting plans, which come every 10 years, are significant and long-lasting.

“It’s the most significant political impact on a state and it lasts a decade,” he said. “It brings in new lawmakers. It’s the one process that begins legislative careers and ends legislative careers.”

He said because of its population center the Brainerd area was always likely to have a state representative seat.

Wenzel said an appeal of the judicially determined redistricting panel’s decision is unlikely.

“It can be appealed but appeals are never successful unless they determine there is a problem disrespecting minorities or the computations of districts (their population numbers) are not equal.

Congressional districts must be within zero to nine people of each other, Wenzel said, a feat the panel is able to accomplish thanks to computers and census reports. Legislative districts must be within 1.5 percent deviation.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or mike.orourke@brainerddispatch.com.