Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Proposed redistricting maps released last week by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency would shake up Iowa House districts in Southeast Iowa.
The proposed maps, released on Sept. 16, lump incumbents together in two area districts and leave another district without an incumbent.
In the proposed map, current state representatives Joe Mitchell (R-District 84) and Jeff Shipley (R-District 82) would both be within the boundaries of a newly drawn District 79.
The new District 79 encompasses all of Henry and Van Buren counties, northern Lee County and western Des Moines County.
Mitchell lives in Mt. Pleasant, while Shipley lives in Birmingham in northern Van Buren County.
Shipley said that he is not particularly worried about how the new map impacts him.
“I’m really not too concerned about that one way or another,” Shipley said. “I could vote yes; I could vote no.
“It doesn’t really make a difference to me. It’s premature to make any decisions about 2022.”
Shipley noted that he was a longtime resident of Fairfield, which would be included in the newly drawn District 78, before moving to Van Buren County a couple years ago.
Mitchell said discussions about the new maps are ongoing.
“We’re still having conversations whether to take the first maps,” Mitchell said. “A lot of legislators are being thrown together — an unprecedented amount.”
According to a report by The Gazette, “24 senators and 37 representatives would be thrown into a district with at least one other incumbent. In 2001, 54 legislators ended up in a district with another incumbent. In 2011, it was 41.”
State Rep. Jarad Klein (R-District 78) is in a similar situation as Shipley and Mitchell.
Klein lives in Keota along the Washington-Keokuk county line in Seventy-Six Township, which is within the proposed new District 76.
District 76 is currently served by Dave Maxwell (R-Gibson).
The proposed new District 76 boundaries include all of Keokuk County, northern Washington County (Kalona, Wellman and Riverside) and eastern and southern Iowa County (Williamsburg, North English, Parnell and Millersburg).
“We will let the process work,” Klein said. “We have a great no-partisan system in place. We will continue to listen to Iowans as we near special session.”
The new District 78 boundaries include all of Jefferson County, southern Washington County (Washington, West Chester, Ainsworth, Brighton and Crawfordsville) and eastern Wapello County.
No incumbent lives within the proposed boundaries of District 78.
The Iowa Legislature will convene for a special session to vote on the proposed maps.
If the maps are not approved, the Legislative Services Agency will have to come up with a second set of maps for consideration by the Legislature.
If the Legislature votes no again, a third map will be produced, which can be amended by lawmakers.