Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
The state’s Redistricting Board is taking public comment this week on its two options for an Alaska redistricting map. The first in a series of hearings to be held around the state took place in Anchorage on Monday, and, many of the city’s residents say the board’s draft plan only fractures neighborhoods.
Northwest Anchorage resident, Shirley Rivas, says the draft places half of her Muldoon neighborhood in the Anchorage suburb of Eagle River, some 15 miles away.
The Board released its draft redistricting plan on April 13, and some said the hearing came before people had a chance to absorb the information. But Dave Ulmer, another Muldoon resident, says the proposed district revision has political overtones.
Both major political parties are watching the redistricting plan unfold with sharp interest. Republican Party of Alaska Chair Randy Reudrich, said the draft map for Anchorage is “troubling at best.”
Reudrich hailed a plan put forward by the Alaskans For Fair Redistricting as superior to the one the board was offering
And Democratic Party of Alaska Executive Director Deborah Williams presented an alternate plan devised by the Rights Coalition. Williams told the panel she was testifying for herself only, as a Mat Su property owner. Williams said Mat Su is required to have five intact House districts, based on requirements of 17,775 population as ideal district size.
Williams refers to the option that would create a Southeast Senate district from two House districts separated by hundreds of miles.
Perhaps one of the major changes to come will concern the Matanuska Susitna Borough, because population growth there will boost representation.
The Redistricting Board holds hearings this week in Fairbanks, Juneau and Cordova.
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