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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Beitelspacher: ‘It was personally powerful,’ but no telling yet on plan

Former state Sen. Ron Beitelspacher of Grangeville, the new Democratic co-chairman of the Idaho redistricting commission, said of the proposed redistricting plans his predecessors presented today, "They put a lot of work into that. We're going to look at it. I've been through many reapportionment sessions, I'm aware of how hard it is. I'm aware of how hard they worked on it. Is it going to be what we vote on, what we adopt? I haven't a clue." Beitelspacher said he saw the plan for the first time today, and all six commissioners must mull it and the public input they get as they begin their task.

Beitelspacher said, "It was personally powerful - there was a lot of emotion in that room when they were there. ... They traversed a long trail. We want to try to learn the lessons that they have."

The new commission scheduled a full day of Maptitude training for tomorrow, and then will take Friday off. But it set an ambitious hearing schedule, with public hearings scheduled for next Wednesday in Idaho Falls, next Thursday in Coeur d'Alene and next Friday in Boise; exact times and locations are pending. The following Monday, Oct. 10th, is Columbus Day, but the new commissioners plan to start meeting every day the next day, and continue, all day, for the rest of the month or until they're done. "Nobody can get sick," GOP Commissioner Randy Hansen of Twin Falls said with a laugh.

Democratic Commissioner Shauneen Grange said, "I think it's the best use of taxpayer dollars, and that we need to get in there and get it done. We've got a good group that really want to move forward."

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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