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Eye On Boise

Idaho adopts new congressional districts, will still split Ada County

Idaho has new congressional districts - and the approved plan, C-52, still divides Ada County, moving the line between districts 1 and 2 slightly to the west to reflect population shifts. “It's a little bit of a revamp of what the last commission did,” said Democratic commission Co-Chair Ron Beitelspacher. “We just cleaned it up a little bit.” The plan passed on a 4-2 vote, with all three Republicans in favor, plus Beitelspacher; voting against were Democratic Commissioners Elmer Martinez and Shauneen Grange. Beitelspacher said he voted in favor “reluctantly,” saying, “I spent a lot of time in the Legislature, and I've had some wonderful pieces of legislation, but if you haven't got the votes, they're not going to pass. I can count.”

Grange said she was surprised that Ada County will be split again. “I just don't think it's necessary, and Boise's the one that's suffered the most out of it,” she said. “Ten years ago it didn't work out that you could keep counties whole,” while this time, she said, it could have. But, she said, “We came up with a compromise … and got 'er done.”

GOP Co-Chair Dolores Crow said, “It doesn't change it so radically. That's a big chunk of people to move around.”

With the approval of the new congressional districts today, on top of the new legislative districts adopted Friday, the citizen commision's work is now done - in only two weeks. The commission had up to 90 days. “I am amazed that three Democrats and three Republicans can get along this well, and we have,” Crow said. “We all really like each other - still. It's been a real pleasure, a real surprise to me that we can do that.”

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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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