County Commission passes redistricting

County Commission passes redistricting

September 21st, 2011 by Rachel Sauls in Local Regional News

The Hamilton County Commission has approved a redistricting plan that will transfer 7,200 East Hamilton County residents from Chester Bankston's District 9 to Larry Henry's District 7 beginning with the August 2012 elections.

According to Henry, the majority of residents being shifted into his district live in the Apison area. The new line will extend District 7's former holdings to Apison Pike where it borders Bradley and Catoosa counties, he said.

Commissioner Bankston, whose district has grown to 44,000 people since the last census, said the loss of 7,200 people is significant.

"I'm sorry I had to lose them, but they'll be represented by Commissioner Henry and he'll represent them well," said Bankston.

Henry said he is at an advantage because he works well with Bankston and has already been working in the area.

"I've lived in this area all my life," Henry said. "I'm not a stranger to the Apison area."

According to Bankston, the redistricting proposal will now go to the state and the election committee for final approval.

County Attorney Reuben Taylor called the commission's effort a "defensible plan" prior to the plan's approval by the commission.

"The state thinks we have made a good effort," he said.

According to Henry, no one has contacted him with concerns about the redistricting in East Hamilton County, and so far the process has gone "very smoothly."

However, not all Hamilton County residents were entirely happy with the approval of the redistricting. County resident Steve Fairley spoke out against the plan after its approval, citing the fact that there was limited public input on the new map, the map itself is not available to the public in an accessible way and allowing a nearly 19 percent deviation in population from district to district does yield fair representation.