Walla Walla should remain in 5th District

And we would like to see Walla Walla continue its association with the Tri-Cities area with legislative representation.


Do you want to see Walla Walla County remain in the 5th Congressional District, now represented by Cathy McMorris Rodgers, or would you like to see it moved to the 4th Congressional District, which is now the turf of Doc Hastings?

Now is your chance to give your views.

In the wake of the 2010 Census, Washington state is having its political boundaries redrawn. Public hearings will be scheduled around the state to look at the four proposals made by the four members of the Redistricting Commission - two Republicans and two Democrats.

Republican Slade Gorton, a former U.S. senator, would put most of Walla Walla County in the 5th Congressional District (following the lines of the Walla Walla, College Place, Waitsburg and Prescott school districts) while those living in the Touchet and Burbank school districts would be in the 4th.

The other Republican, Tom Huff, has all of Walla Walla County in the 5th District, which looks very much like the current configuration.

The Democrats on the panel would move all of Walla Walla County to the 4th District.

Tim Ceis has the 4th District covering the southern half of Eastern Washington from Yakima to Clarkston while Dean Foster moves Walla Walla County to the 4th but leaves Columbia, Garfield and Asotin counties in the 5th.

Our preference is to keep Walla Walla County in the 5th District and linked with Spokane. Walla Walla, as the second largest city in the district, now has the attention of McMorris Rodgers as it did George Nethercutt and Tom Foley before her. Our concern with being moved to the 4th is our voice would be muted in relation to the Tri-Cities and Yakima Valley.

The four commisisoners' plans for carving out legislative districts are more similar. Walla Walla County would remain in the 16th District under all the plans.

But the Democrats want to lump Walla Walla County with Columbia, Garfield, Asotin and Whitman counties. Foster also includes Adams County in his version of the 16th.

The Republicans on the panel link Walla Walla and Columbia counties with areas in or near the Tri-Cities. Parts of Benton and Franklin counties are included in Huff's plan while only Benton County is in Gorton's plan. Currently the 16th includes Walla Walla and Columbia counties as well as part of Benton and Franklin counties.

We would prefer to remain linked with our neighbors to the west in regard to legislative matters. Lawmakers from the Walla Walla and Columbia counties have been effective in Olympia by forming alliances with the lawmakers representing the others parts of the Tri-Cities areas.

The political boundaries established will remain for the next decade. How the lines are drawn does matter.

Would do you think?

The Commission will be taking public input this fall and must make a final decision before the end of the year. Make your voice heard.


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