Redistricting plan seems good fit for Walla Walla County

Walla Walla County now has two representatives looking out for its interests in Congress.

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The final decision on drawing the new boundaries for Washington state's congressional and legislative district is in.

And Walla Walla County - from a political perspective (and what other kind is there when dealing with congressional and legislative districts?) - has done well.

The final plan approved by the bipartisan Redistricting Commission, which goes into effect in February, divides Walla Walla County between the 5th and 4th congressional districts.

Walla Walla County has been solely in the 5th Congressional District, now represented by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, for a decade. Under the newly adopted plan the bulk of the county's population will remain in the 5th. The eastern part of the county, the area's served by the Walla Walla, College Place, Waitsubrg, Prescott and Dixie school districts, will be in the 5th.

But the western part of the county - served by the Touchet and Burbank school districts - will now be in the 4th Congressional District, which is now served by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco.

Walla Walla County could see a benefit from having two U.S. representatives with a political interest in the area. For example, another set of eyes will be watching the Department of Veterans Affairs as it moves forward in fulfulling its promise to upgrade the local VA Medical Center. In addition, it adds a little more political juice in the effort to build a four-lane highway from Walla Walla to Pasco.

Yet, by having most of the county's population in the 5th District this area remains an important one for McMorris Rodgers (and whoever will succeed her in the future). The area has a significant and concentrated number of voters in the very large district, which essentially goes from the Oregon border to the Canadian border.

The new 16th Legislative District, which essentially stretches from Dayton to Benton City to Prosser taking in some of Pasco along the way, looks much like the current district. This, too, works to Walla Walla's benefit.

This essentially links the Walla Walla and Dayton areas with the Tri-Cities. It adds to our political clout. Lawmakers from 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.

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