While one state legislature appears fine with a proposed redistricting map, another seems disappointed in the changes.
State Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson) is set to represent all of Jackson County for the 31st District in the Georgia House of Representatives, according to redistricting maps released on Friday. Benton’s district currently extends into Hall County and a small portion into Barrow County, mostly in the Chateau Elan area.
The new state representative map would give most of Jackson County to Benton, with a remaining portion in South Jackson represented by the new House district number 117.
The General Assembly started a special session on Monday to redraw new state House and Senate redistricting maps using population data from the 2010 Census.
But State Senator Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) isn’t as happy about the proposed district lines.
Ginn represents the state Senate’s 47th District — which currently includes all of Barrow, Madison and Oglethorpe counties, most of Jackson County, a portion of Elbert County and the western portion of Athens-Clarke County.
Under the proposal, Ginn would still represent all of Barrow and Madison counties, but he’d no longer serve voters in Oglethorpe and Elbert counties. The 47th District would further expand into Athens-Clarke County, while giving up a large portion of Jackson County to District 50 in the state Senate.
That district would also include Banks, Franklin, Stephens, Habersham, Rabun and Towns counties, according to the preliminary map. State Sen. Jim Butterworth (R-Cornelia) represents the 50th District.
“I’m not very happy, quite honestly,” Ginn said. “It cuts me out of about half of what I’ve got in Jackson County and pushes me much more into Athens-Clarke, an area I don’t currently serve.”
Benton was less thrilled about how Jackson is split on the proposed Senate map, with its lower half remaining in the 47th District but the upper half going to the 50th, which runs north to the North Carolina line.
“I won’t have anything to say about that,” Benton noted, observing that it is customary for the House to approve whatever Senate redistricting plan the Senate sends over (and vise versa).
For the full story, see the Aug. 17 issue of The Jackson Herald.
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