Omaha Public Radio News
8:17 am
Tue April 5, 2011

New Iowa redistricting maps met with mixed response

Omaha, NE – Polk and Pottawattamie Counties would be in the same Congressional District under a redistricting plan the Iowa General Assembly will soon consider.

That plan was met with mixed results at the first of four public hearings on Iowa's new redistricting plan Monday night in Council Bluffs. The Congressional map creates four districts, eliminating Congressman Steve King's western Iowa fifth district.

Ed Cook of the Iowa Legislative Services Agency says state law requires the maps to be based strictly on population count. "We don't look at where incumbents reside. We don't look at election results. We don't look at where party registration is. We don't look at any of that. The basic idea with Iowa is that we have a blind process from a partisan perspective."

Concerns were raised over Council Bluffs and Des Moines being part of the same Congressional District. Those supporting the first redistricting plan called it fair and an opportunity for western Iowa to be heard. Harrison and Monona counties would be part of a new fourth Congressional District.

Three more public hearings are scheduled this week. The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission will report on the public hearings next Monday to the Iowa General Assembly. If the General Assembly rejects the first maps, new ones would be drawn and presented 35 days later.