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Some Communities to Get New Representatives

Illinois General Assembly releases proposed redistricting maps for public airing.

Voters got their first glimpse at whether or not they might have a new representative in Washington, Springfield or both when the Illinois General Assembly released maps of its last week. 

throughout the state and internal negotiating, the state Senate released its proposed map for its 59 constituencies. The next day, the state House released its plans for redrawing two districts, which must be contained within each Senate district, according to the Illinois Constitution. 

The General Assembly is working to approve the maps by May 31, when the legislative session is scheduled to end.

According to the proposed maps, some residents in Lake Forest, Glencoe, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Glenview, Northbrook and Buffalo Grove would get a different representative in the House or Senate. There is little change for the citizens of Libertyville. 

Changes to the 10th Congressional District will not be known until later this week. Since the current district has about 650,000 people and new areas must have about 705,000 persons, some form of change is certain. 

One less district

Every 10 years, in conjunction with the federal Census, the state lawmakers adjust legislative boundaries for the state's House and Senate as well as its congressional districts.

On the state level, the changes are made to reflect population shifts with an eye toward keeping natural communities intact and securing minority representation as required by state and federal law, according to state , one of the 15 senators participating in a Saturday hearing in Chicago where the proposed districts were first displayed for public comment.

Since Illinois’ congressional delegation will be reduced from 19 to 18 because the population grew less than in other states, the legislature is charged with creating a map with one less district. 

Some people at the hearing were displeased that they could not see the new federal boundaries. 

“We’re disappointed Democratic members of the Illinois [congressional] delegation were told to comment on the map but the public was not invited,” said Alexander Sharp, who testified on behalf of Protestants for the Common Good. 

Under the redrawn district, Garrett would represent all of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Highland Park and Deerfield. She will represent less of Northbrook and Glencoe while taking on parts of Wheeling and Buffalo Grove. 

“This district is very similar to what I now represent. This is very familiar territory,” Garrett said. “I have all of Lake Forest, which keeps the community whole.”

According to Garrett, one of the goals of the committee is to let entire communities have one representative. 

More north, less Northbrook

Garrett and will both continue to handle the needs of all of Highland Park, Lake Bluff and Deerfield--once the maps are approved. They add the parts of Lake Forest they did not represent and deal with much less of Glencoe and Northbrook. 

“The last time 55 percent of my district changed,” May said, referring to the changes after the 2000 census. “Much of the population [in 2011] is the same as I now represent. I’ll be dealing with a lot of the same people.” 

now covers much less of Northbrook and Glenview while adding Wheeling and parts of Buffalo Grove. 

The most significant change occurs for the people of Buffalo Grove. There, state Rep. Carol Sente [D-Buffalo Grove] and state Rep. Sid Mathias [R-Buffalo Grove] now live in the same proposed district. Either they will run against each other or one will have to move to continue to represent some of their constituents. 

The portion of Buffalo Grove where neither Sente nor Mathias live now shifts to Garrett and Nekritz. The rest of Buffalo Grove will be represented by either Sente or Mathias and state Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan). 

Libertyville residents will continue to be served by state Sen. Dan Duffy (D-Barrington) and state Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein). 

More of Glenview and Northbrook as well as a portion of Wilmette will have the services of state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) and, who was first elected in 2010 and will need to make adjustments in his re-election bid. 

“It’s pretty similar to my current district,” Biss said. “I have some new people to get to know but I’ll be able to do OK.” 

Most of Glencoe along with all of Winnetka and Kenilworth and part of Wilmette will be represented by Schoenberg. That group of towns will also be served by state Rep. Robyn Gable (D-Evanston), who was also elected in 2010. 

“Much of the district is similar,” Gable said referring to the new boundaries. “I think the new people will be happy with my representation.” 

Minority representation

Most of the testimony during the public Senate committee hearing Saturday focused on the ability of minority communities to have adequate representation.

Latino growth in Illinois has been significant over the past 10 years, according to Latino Policy Forum Executive Director Sylvia Puente. She wanted to be sure her constituents had additional seats in the legislature. 

“We are pleased we have shown you our maps and you have shown us yours,” Puente said.

Last month it appeared unlikely the public would have a chance to see the proposals before a vote.

“We are glad to see five districts at 65 percent,” she said about the court determined legal threshold for a majority-minority district. 

Garrett was quick to point out her new district was an effort to consolidate more Latino voters in the northern suburbs with one senator to give them a louder political voice. 

“I still have all of Highwood and an increased Latino constituency to represent in Wheeling,” Garrett said. “This is an example of the fairness we are trying to achieve.”

katie hackbarth May 24, 2011 at 03:57 AM
Which representative district will include Northfield???
Phil Collins May 24, 2011 at 04:17 PM
All of Northfield would be in the 18th District, which is represented by Rep. Gable. I hope that all voters will email their state legislators and give their views about the maps. I emailed Sen. Schoenberg and Rep. Biss, and I asked them to vote against the house map. I hoped that all of Glenview would be in the 17th District. The new map would split Glenview. I asked them to give all of Glenview to the 17th Dist. and all of Evanston to the 18th Dist.

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