Archive for Monday, June 18, 2012

Moving days: Kansas legislators relocating to fulfill residency requirement

June 18, 2012


— Redistricting may have produced a brief surge of business for moving companies.

At least a half-dozen legislators recently moved to establish residency in newly drawn districts.

The strategy has produced some criticism.

Caleb Correll, a Democratic candidate for the state House from Ottawa, called new Ottawan TerriLois Gregory, a Republican who had been a legislator from Baldwin City, a “carpetbagger.”

But Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Gregory’s pivot into another district is permissible.

He said the Legislature hasn’t imposed any time limits on how long a person must have lived in the district before attempting to run for office from there.

Moving boxes were hauled out after June 7 when a panel of three federal judges issued its order, redrawing the boundaries for congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts after the Legislature failed to fulfill this responsibility that comes every 10 years to adjust districts to accommodate population shifts.

The new lines erased a half-century of gerrymandering and resulted in dozens of legislators occupying the same districts and many districts without incumbents. And the judges made no change to the noon June 11 deadline to file for a candidacy.

Gregory’s 10th House District was placed entirely in Douglas County and became less Republican than before.

Gregory said the move to the 59th District was natural for personal and political reasons. She had represented part of Franklin County before and was “trying to be a good team player with the Republican Party,” she said.

She said that means she had helped line up a GOP candidate in the 10th — Erica Anderson of Baldwin City who will face Democrat John Wilson of Lawrence in the November general election.

Gregory also said that moving to Ottawa will allow her next year to move into an apartment complex called Washburn Towers that is reserved for people 55 and older.

Moving right along

The new district maps prompted several other legislators to pack their bags.

Melanie Meier, a Democrat who represented the 40th House District in Leavenworth, was placed in the 42nd with state Rep. Connie O’Brien, R-Tonganoxie, under the new map. She has decided to move to the 41st, also in Leavenworth, where she will live across the street from a home she is remodeling. In that district, Meier will face the winner of the GOP matchup between state Rep. Jana Goodman and Mark Preisinger, both of Leavenworth.

State Rep. Clark Shultz moved from Lindsborg to McPherson to stay in the 73rd House District. The new maps had drawn his Lindsborg residence into the 108th District. He is using the McPherson address of an apartment that was recently leased to his school-teacher daughter.

Another move that has drawn attention is in Hutchinson where veteran legislator Jan Pauls awoke June 8 to find her home had been placed in a different district than the one she had been representing.

So Pauls, a Democrat, filed back in her old district using the address of a church she and her husband, Ron, had bought and were renovating.

That move has been opposed by the Kansas Equality Coalition, a gay rights group that has often opposed Pauls for her political stances against homosexuals. Thomas Witt, executive director of the KEC, said Pauls is falsely claiming that she lives in the church; Pauls says otherwise, and the issue will be considered in a candidacy challenge before the State Objections Board on Tuesday. The board is composed of Kobach, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, all Republicans.

Another area of controversy that will be hashed out before the Objections Board is a challenge over Kobach’s decision to reassign about 80 candidates into different districts from the ones they had filed. This was done to match their new districts under the new maps. Some have said Kobach doesn’t have the authority to do that.

John Alcala, who is running for the 57th House District, said the Republican in the race, Aimee Rosenow, filed in the 53rd District. When the maps were redrawn, Kobach placed her in the 57th District.

Alcala said that isn’t right.

“Election laws should be applied fairly and evenly and not based on who you know in high places,” Alcala said in a letter to Kobach. His letter included a photograph from Rosenow’s website that shows her and Kobach together at a political function.


hyperinflate 5 years, 11 months ago

'Gregory said the move to the 59th District was natural for personal and political reasons. She had represented part of Franklin County before and was “trying to be a good team player with the Republican Party,” she said.'

Looks like Gregory is now walking back her "God moved me there" assertion -- perhaps realizing that no deity is evil enough to move someone to Ottawa.

Bobby Burch 5 years, 11 months ago

Gregory is facing off against a well established and liked community member -- Blaine Finch -- for the GOP primary in August. So -- thankfully -- it will be tough even for her to make it to the general election.

Hilarious how she refers to herself as a team player for the GOP ... more like an etch-a-sketch or puppet. I doubt she could form a single thought of her own as she's been memorizing her Republican scripts for so long.

avarom 5 years, 11 months ago

Well in the first place, if you can't redistrict a map....being a dutiful official is a very loose term, on another note .....some of the dutiful officials do not have balls, for they are Women. Leaving it to the judges who don't care or have a the looks the redistricting..old timer you it the Nail on the Head with that One!! As for not having this job for a million dollars....I am sure you would change your mind if it was worth a for your was worth about two cents!

tomatogrower 5 years, 11 months ago

I think the judges did a great job. They followed the criteria for redistricting and undid years of gerrymandering. The Republicans can just start fresh in 10 years.

Bobby Burch 5 years, 11 months ago

Shoot, I say should let the judges draw the lines every 10 years. It would save the state money, give more time to legislators during their session and avoid all the political hysteria/ potential gerrymandering. It would also give legislators some reasonable time to move to another district if they choose.

That or let some drunk monkeys take a crack at the maps.

tolawdjk 5 years, 11 months ago

This is Kansas, let's be reasonable.

I doubt we could find enough monkeys outside the legislature to draw up maps in a reasonable timeframe.

No, the time honored way to do it would be to slap a grid on the football field, and then grid a Kansas map.

Then paint a big #1 on a cow and turn it loose. Where ever it does it's buisness is the new 1st district. Depending on how ole Bessy is feeling, you may get a "runner" and end up with a maps looking about like the ones drawn up in Topeka.

DanR 5 years, 11 months ago

I know this is off topic, but I really wish the LJW wouldn't use stock photos of the Kansas capitol building. It's under renovation and looks like hell right now, yes, but surely the LJW has photos on file? If not, just send Krug or Yoder over there before sunrise/sunset on the next nice day to get a little creative. It's 30 miles away. It doesn't look THAT bad... I'd prefer a crane in the background (it's probably symbolic of something) to an old stock photo. :-(

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 11 months ago

Again, this is completely unbelievable. Using an address of an apartment where their daughter lived? Using an address of a church they're renovating? How is this legal? A family trying to do this for their child to change schools results in that child being ineligible for sports. But it's OK for our legislators who make laws for the state to post BS addresses? This is BS.

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