Capitol reporters gather around to look at proposed Congressional map

We have a map, a House proposal to re-draw the state’s Congressional boundaries now that the delegation has shrunk from nine to eight.

A proposed re-positioning of eight Congressional districts has been unveiled at the House Redistricting Committee at the Capitol.

“I think this is a map that we can go forward with and say we did a pretty good job,” committee chairman, Rep. John Diehl, a Republican from Town and Country, said to committee members. “And I want to make it clear it’s not a Congressional consensus map. I mean there are some Congressmen who don’t like this, but that’s not our job. Our job is to write a map that fairly and adequately represents all Missourians.”

Diehl called the committee into a work session to review the new map and receive information on census tracts. Public hearings on the proposed map begin Thursday. Diehl said he hopes to have a proposal ready for House floor debate next week.

Proposed Congressional districts

The map displayed on an easel looks much different that the current map of Congressional districts. The St. Louis area loses a Congressional seat. The 1st District incorporates the city of St. Louis and part of St. Louis County. The 2nd District incorporates St. Louis County and part of St. Charles County. The old 3rd District is virtually eliminated. Jefferson and Ste. Genevieve Counties move into the new 8th District. A new 3rd District is created by extending west from St. Louis County out to Cole, Miller and Camden Counties; a more squat old 9th District.

Diehl denied the map draws St. Louis-area Congressman Russ Carnahan, a Democrat from St. Louis, out of office.

“The city of St. Louis currently has two Congressmen living in it,” Diehl told reporters. “The city of St. Louis lost the most population over the past decade so it’s almost impossible to justify that the city in and of itself maintains two Congressmen as part of its population base.”

Current Congressional Districts

The 4th District would lose Cole County and Jefferson City, the capital city. It would reach farther north, into Cooper, Howard and Boone Counties. It would extend south near Springfield, picking up Wright County, a rural southern county east of Springfield.

A drastic change is proposed for the 5th District, which currently is a metro district headquartered in Kansas City. The proposal extends the 5th east into the mostly rural counties of Ray, Lafayette and Saline. The 6th District would break loose from its northwest Missouri confines to incorporate the entire northern third of the state, from St. Joseph to Hannibal.

The 7th District would incorporate Springfield, along with the southwestern corner of the state. The 8th would spread over the southeastern quadrant of Missouri.

Redrawing congressional districts is a politically charged issue. Missouri now has six Republican members of Congress and three Democrats. The Republicans are 2nd District Congressman Todd Akin, 4th District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, 6th District Congressman Sam Graves, 7th District Congressman Billy Long, 8th District Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson and 9th District Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer. The three Democrats are 1st District Congressman William “Lacy” Clay, 3rd District Congressman Russ Carnahan and 5th District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II. Republicans control the legislature and will re-draw the map. The new map would be sent to Governor Nixon, a Democrat.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:15 MP3]

AUDIO: House Redistricting Committee Chairman John Diehl speaks with reporters [7 min MP3]