NASHVILLE - Because Hamilton County's population growth has failed to keep up with statewide averages over the last decade, the county will lose some representation in the state House when Tennessee lawmakers reapportion and redraw political boundaries next year, officials said today.
The number of districts in Hamilton will be reduced from 5 1/2 to five, said House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.
McCormick said he expects Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, whose House District 31 seat currently includes part of northern Hamilton and all of Rhea County, will lose the Hamilton County portion of the district.
"We've got to have basically the same numbers in each district ... and we also have to keep in mind county lines and try not to cross county lines," McCormick said. "So Hamilton County's numbers indicate that we can have five full seats and still stay within our county lines and still meet the guidelines of the population figures.
He said he doesn't expect the county's political influence to decrease as a result, noting that Hamilton County lawmakers often cooperate with regional colleagues, including Cobb, and others in Bradley County and other nearby counties on issues of local interest.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.