House Speaker Steven Tilley

How do you fit nine into eight? That’s the question facing the legislature as it considers Congressional redistricting in the wake of a Census that took a Congressional seat away from Missouri.

House Speaker Steven Tilley has returned to the Capitol in Jefferson City from Washington, D. C.  House Redistricting Committee Chairman John Diehl (R-Town and Country) attended a conference on redistricting held in Washington. Tilley traveled with him to meet with Missouri’s Congressional delegation.

“We just said, ‘Listen, there’s rumors and there’s blogs out there that John and I already have a map and it’s already been determined who’s going to be out of a job and that’s just not the case. We don’t have the numbers, yet,’” Tilley says.

Missouri’s Congressional delegation stands at nine, now. It will be reduced to eight by the 2012 election.

Tilley says the House will do its best to keep the speculation running rampant in the media from interfering with the process.

“I really can’t, but the main thing is that, I think anybody that’s ever worked with me knows that I am an honest person and if I tell you something, you can take it to the bank,” Tilley says. “I just wanted to let the Congress people know, Republican and Democrat, that there is no predetermined map, no decisions have been made and we’re going to do our best to draw a good map.”

Tilley appointed the Special Standing Committee on Redistricting to review Census numbers and submit a new map of eight Congressional districts for the House to consider. Though the initial numbers confirmed fears that the state would lose a Congressional seat, the detailed numbers haven’t been released yet from the Census Bureau. Those will likely come either next month or in March. Tilley says Census officials have indicated that they will release them earlier for state’s losing Congressional representation. Those numbers will divulge where Missouri has lost population.

Tilley insists that the House committee will carefully review the numbers from the Census, determine where the voters live and then draw the lines which will draw one person out of Congress.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60 MP3]