The Kentucky state legislature made good on the plan to pass redistricting maps for the state house, state senate and U.S. congressional maps over the weekend.
The legislation for all three maps were passed on Saturday.
“I always enjoy getting legislation passed that first week,” said Rep. Walker Thomas of Hopkinsville. “We always go into session the first Tuesday in January and in three of the five years I have been in the legislature, we’ve stayed through Saturday to get something passed because it usually takes about four days.”
Walker’s District 8 will now include most of Hopkinsville, as well as most of western Christian County, part of Trigg County and all of Caldwell County.
Myron Dossett of Pembroke saw his District 9 change to fall completely within the boundaries of Christian County, making up mostly the eastern and southern portion of the county, including Fort Campbell and Oak Grove.
The smallest of the Christian County’s three districts will now be a part of District 16, which also includes all of Todd and Logan counties and is represented by Republican Jason Petrie of Elkton.
State Senator Whitney Westerfield saw his district change as he wil nowl be representing Christian, Muhlenberg and Caldwell counties. He will be losing Logan and Todd counties, which has been a part of his district since he got to Frankfort in 2013.
“I’m excited about getting to know the people of Caldwell and Muhlenberg counties better than I already do, but I’m certainly sad to lose Todd and Logan,” Westerfield said. “I’ve invested heavily into the people and priorities there, building trust and relationships that aren’t easy to part with. I’ll always continue to advocate for their interests as long as I’m in the Senate.”
Thomas said he was glad the legislature was able to get the maps passed so quickly.
“Constitutionally we have to do that, the law requires us to do that,” Thomas said. “It took a little longer to do because we were late getting the results from the Census, but now it has the house and the senate and it’s laying on the governor’s desk.”
He added that even if Gov. Andy Beshear vetoes the maps, the votes are there to override the veto.
“Each bill has an emergency clauses, which means it would take effect immediately if signed,” Westerfield said. “However, if the governor vetoes them, then they’ll take effect immediately after the vetoes are overridden. But if a legal challenge is filed their effective date would likely be delayed.”
The one map that both Thomas and Westerfield voted no on was the congressional map that has the first district (which includes Christian, Trigg and Todd counties) stretching from the western most part of the state all the way to Franklin County in central Kentucky.
“While I believe the congressional map is constitutional by population, I voted no because I believe it should have been drawn to include more of west Kentucky rather than reaching so far into central Kentucky to include Frankfort, next door to Lexington and Georgetown. The interests and economies of central Kentucky are not the same as ours out here in the west.”
Thomas said even though he voted against that map, he doesn’t think it constitutes gerrymandering.
“It’s so hard to sit there and come up with the right amount of people,” he said. “I don’t think gerrymandering is accurate, all the other districts were more compact — just the first wasn’t.”