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Eye On Boise

Testimony: Dividing Ada County, power in voice and unity, rural interests…

Maria Gonzales Mabbut of Nampa urged consideration of the Latino community in drawing new district lines; she said several people are working on submitting maps to reflect that. Brad Hoaglun, Meridian city councilman, said the city of Meridian would like to remain in a single congressional district, and it would prefer the 1st District. "We are the landlord for the main office of the 1st District congressman," he noted.

Former state Rep. Branden Durst, D-Boise, asked the commission to keep Ada County in a single congressional district, rather than dividing it, as has long occurred. "There is no reason in the world to divide Ada County," he said. "The fact is that Ada County should not be divided. There is no legal reason for it."

Jose Alfredo Hernandez, a social worker from Kuna, told the commissioners, "I can only speak for what I know and what I see." That includes serious health disparities between Latinos and others, he said. "There is power in a voice and there is power in unity. ... There's something that's not just with what's going on with the lack of Latino voices both at the Legislature and in other representation."

Dennis Tanikuni, assistant director of government affairs for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, said, "We ask that you not isolate cities," creating large, rural districts surrounding them. Such an approach, he said, "we think will allow urban centers to control the Idaho Legislature. ... Help assure rural votes actually do count."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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