Re-districting

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

To the editor,

Montana is making history this year by becoming the first state in the nation to gain back enough population to regain a second congressional seat, one which we lost in 1993. The hard part is that it may take the wisdom of Solomon, or at least a lot of input from citizens, to decide how to divvy up the state to create two equitably populated and politically representative congressional districts.

Luckily the Montana Constitution anticipated this challenge and established a Redistricting Commission, independent of the legislature, to be appointed every ten years. Composed of two Democratic appointees, two Republican appointees, and a chair appointed by the State Supreme Court, the current Commission has been hard at work all summer gathering information and public comment.

Public input is vital so that the Commission can designate two congressional districts that represent the will of the most significant number of Montanans. Using that input, the Commission hopes to fairly divide the state by population and evenly divide the composition of voters that do not favor one political party or another.

Nine proposed maps are now available for anyone to review and chime in on which is best. The public can view their work at https:// mtredistricting.gov/. The map chosen will be used in the 2022 Congressional election to allow voters to select, for the first time since 1994, two members of the House of Representatives.

To provide input to the Commission, which wants to hear from citizens, people can submit written comments about any of the proposed maps through the website. Montanans can also provide live testimony at the Oct. 19 public hearing, either in Helena or via Zoom. You must sign up on the website first. Whichever the case, take the time to educate yourself and give your opinion. Don’t let history pass you by. Be a part of it.

Rep. Donavon Hawk

House District 76, Butte

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