Panel begins looking at proposals today
BOISE – Two North Idaho state senators have submitted a proposed redistricting plan for the Panhandle that would eliminate the odd shape of District 2 but also would 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 to the other of her district, 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 proposed plan, which was submitted to Idaho’s bipartisan citizen redistricting commission; anyone can submit plans. The commission is scheduled to start considering plans today.
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.
“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, Keough said.
Under the plan, Keough would stay in District 1 and Broadsword in District 2; there’s been some speculation that redoing 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 adds 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 Rep. 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.