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North Idaho senators propose redistricting plan

Wed., July 13, 2011, 3:59 p.m.

BOISE - Two North Idaho state senators have submitted a proposed redistricting plan for North Idaho that would eliminate the oddly shaped District 2, but would also lump two other senators into the same district and force new Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, into a district with two Coeur d’Alene incumbents.

“District 2 has been such a boondoggle for the last 10 years,” said Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle. She noted that she has to drive through three other districts to get from one end of her district to the other, which stretches from southern Bonner County to take in all of Shoshone and Benewah counties and part of southern Kootenai County. “It’s not fair for the constituency - having someone who lives closer would be more beneficial for all,” she said.

Broadsword and Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, drew up the new proposed plan, which was submitted to Idaho’s bipartisan citizen redistricting commission; anyone can submit plans. The commission will hold its 14th public hearing tonight in Meridian, and is scheduled to start considering plans Thursday, though it’ll start with congressional district lines before turning to legislative districts.

The Broadsword-Keough plan would do away with the current backward-C-shaped District 2 in favor of a more compact District 2 that combines southern Bonner County with northern Kootenai County, including the Athol area. A new District 3 would take in the Post Falls area, and a new District 4 the Coeur d’Alene area; a new District 5 would include all of Benewah and Shoshone counties, the southern portion of Kootenai County including the Coeur d’Alene Reservation, and most of Latah County except for the Moscow area.

Keough and Broadsword noted that the plan would reunite the city of Priest River in District 1; reunite the city of Clark Fork in District 1; and allow for future growth by creating a District 4 in the center of the population area in Kootenai County.

“This was just one more idea that we thought we’d put on the table for the redistricting commission to take a look at,” Keough said. “We were trying to divide along the communities of interest, and keeping cities whole,” while making sure communities within districts are connected by major highways.

Under the plan, Keough would stay in District 1 and Broadsword in District 2; there’s been some speculation that a re-do of District 2 might force the two longtime senators both into a new District 1.

However, new Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, would end up in the same new District 4 as sixth-term Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, meaning the two would have to face off in a GOP primary if both wanted to stay in office.

Also, District 4, which would be identical to the current District 4 with just the addition of the Dalton Gardens precinct, would have three incumbent representatives for its two seats: freshman Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens; fourth-term Rep. Marge Chadderdon, R-Coeur d’Alene; and first-term Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, a former state senator. Current Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, would end up in the new District 2, along with an open House seat.



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