Monday, May 10, 2010

The Effects of the Upcoming Redistricting Process

One of the tasks I undertake this time of year is that of updating my list of House District 31 constituents. The yearly updating provides me with several important insights. This process allows me to review the growth in the District. House District 31 (North Oklahoma county and Logan County) contains some of the fastest growing areas in the state. You may recall that I have written about this explosive growth and the challenges faced by local officials in maintaining the infrastructure which services this growth.

Over the past years I have had as a primary focus the task of building strong lines of communication between myself and the House District 31 constituency. Usually this takes the form of e-mail communication and I have enjoyed using this technology to provide a level of service which I do not believe would have been possible just a few years ago. These contacts have resulted in the building of several hundred friendships which I would not have had the opportunity to make had it not been for this communication. Because the directory provides a documentation of these relationships, it is somewhat a sad task to realize that this will be the last year my list will contain all of these constituents.

Next year at this time I will very likely be observing a very significant change in the makeup of the district. In about a year, it is expected that the House and Senate will be completing the task of redistricting. Because the north Oklahoma County and Logan County area has experienced such an enormous amount of growth, it will be necessary for House District 31 to become much smaller in the number of constituents. Many of those I represent today will no longer be in the district.

There are, however, a number of positive implications brought about by the update of census data and the redistricting process. Here are two of them:

The area will be represented by multiple Representatives and at some point in the next few years, it is possible that the area could have more than one resident state Representative or Senator for the first time in many years. This means that the area will have a stronger voice in state government.

Because much of the growth in the district has occurred in unincorporated areas, I believe that the growth has been under reported in census estimates. This could be the first time that the new growth is completely reflected in government population counts which could have significant implications on issues such as the manner in which state government funds road maintenance accounts of area County Commissioners. State road funding may finally reflect the reality that significant stresses are being placed on the infrastructure.

While I will certainly miss representing some of those I have worked for over the past few years, I do look forward to working with additional local Representatives and Senators to represent the North Oklahoma and Logan County area.

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