Topeka — All of Douglas County would be in the 1st U.S. House District under a congressional redistricting plan filed by Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora.
The proposal, dubbed the “I-70 District” would go from Lawrence to the Kansas-Colorado border.
House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said he opposed such a map. “I don’t know why Douglas County would fit in the 1st. We need to keep the 1st as a rural agricultural district,” Davis said.
Brown did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. The plan can be seen here.
State legislators are redrawing district lines to accommodate population shifts over the past 10 years.
Douglas County is currently split, with the western portion in the 2nd District and the eastern portion in the 3rd. A proposal approved by the state Senate would consolidate Douglas County into the 2nd.
But a number of proposed alternatives surfaced in the House on Thursday. Public hearings on those plans will probably start next week.
In most of the draft plans, Douglas County is either entirely in the 2nd or 3rd districts.
The 1st, currently represented by U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, is a vast district that takes in western and central Kansas, but needs to pick up about 58,000 residents to reach an ideal size. A plan by House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, would add part of Wyandotte County to the 1st.
Davis has proposed a redistricting plan that would keep Manhattan in the 2nd.
Under the Senate-approved plan, Manhattan would be in the 1st; a proposal that Manhattan officials have opposed. Davis said it makes sense to have the state’s major universities, Kansas University and Kansas State, in the same district.