Redistricting doesn’t make sensePublished 10:59am Friday, May 13, 2011
It is understandable that the remapping of Minnesota’s congressional districts is done with politics in mind. The party in power at the Legislature — in this case, the Republicans — tends to shape the districts in a way that helps some incumbents, or gives new candidates in their party a better chance to defeat incumbents from the opposing party.
It’s also understood that due to population declines in outstate Minnesota, it is impossible to avoid creating a couple of districts with large geographical areas.
That said, when it comes to the needs of outstate Minnesota, the GOP’s recent congressional district does not make sense.
The plan would in essence stretch the eighth district, which would include Becker County but not Otter Tail County, across the entire northern half of Minnesota, stretching from the North Dakota border to Lake Superior’s north shore.
The distance between one part of the congressional district to another is not dissimilar to the current 7th congressional district that stretches from Marshall to the Canadian border.
However, agriculture is dominant throughout the district. Thus, it made sense for Rep. Collin Peterson to focus his attention on agriculture throughout his tenure.
With the new GOP plan, the 8th congressional district would include agricultural areas in the west, mining areas along the Iron Range, and tourist and park areas along Lake Superior and the Canadian border in the northeast.
Politics aside, it is important that our representatives in outstate Minnesota can best serve our interests in Washington D.C. Under the proposed GOP plan, Democrat or Republican, it seems unrealistic to think that one person could competently represent such vastly different economic interests.