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GOP redistricting plan would alter area legislative boundaries

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Initial plans to redraw Minnesota’s state legislative boundaries would shift the voting base for local lawmakers.

Redrawing those boundaries — known as redistricting — is done every 10 years after the release of new population data from the U.S. Census. It’s an effort to ensure roughly equal populations in each district.

Based on the new data, each House district should have about 39,600 people, and each Senate district should have about 79,000 people.

A Republican-led proposal in the state House of Representatives would alter a number of districts in southeast Minnesota. It’s also in attempt to better match district boundaries with county lines, said Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth.

Anderson is the chairwoman of the House Redistricting Committee, which approved the proposal earlier this week, though the proposal still needs to clear both the House and Senate and receive approval from the governor before it becomes law. Even then, the new boundaries could be challenged in court.

The proposed redistricting would maintain the current separation of Winona and Goodview into different House districts, but would create a big change in the Senate by lumping both cities in the same district.

The proposed change could affect the voting base of first-term Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, but Miller said he’s focused on solving the state’s $5 billion budget deficit — not the next election cycle.

“I’d be sad to lose Houston and Fillmore County,” he said. “We’ve developed a lot of close relationships there, but my mission will stay the same.”

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, would also see a large change, losing a chunk of Goodhue County and gaining all of Wabasha County and more of Winona County.

Drazkowski said Wednesday that he believed the proposed district lines were fair.

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If the current redistricting proposal is approved, here’s what the area’s new districts would look like:

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