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Eye On Boise

Testimony: How communities fit in redistricting, economics vs. politics…

John Cross of Post Falls, Region 1 chairman for the Idaho Republican Party, told the Idaho redistricting commission at its hearing in Coeur d'Alene tonight, “I want to recommend that the state maintain the 35 legislative districts. I believe it will help to prevent  the rural low-population districts from becoming larger geographically than they already are.” Asked by Commissioner George Moses if he didn't think the Legislature perhaps should be a part of an overall move to shrink the size of government, Cross said, “I don't think you're going to get the proper representation for the people in the rural areas in particular. … To reduce it, I think, would make very little difference in our state budget as far as I can tell.”

Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, urged the commission to “keep the city (of Coeur d'Alene) in as much of a single district as possible.” Jeremy Boggess, an independent who ran against Goedde in the last three elections, made a similar plea, asking the commission to preserve cities and other communities of interest.

Ed Morse, a real estate appraiser from Coeur d'Alene, said the current district plan links some areas with “really no commonality.” “I appraise real estate throughout the Panhandle, and really throughout the state. In that regard I guess I'm a microeconomist,” he told the commission. He urged consideration of economic commonalities in drawing district lines, including geography, employment, shopping and transportation, rather than existing “political interests” like cities. He also spoke out against any plan to link North Idaho with eastern Idaho in a single congressional district, saying there's no economic tie.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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