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Sent on Mormon-News: 19Sep01

By Deborah Carl

Matheson Losing in Utah Redistricting

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Utah Democrats claim the urban-rural redistricting is a ploy to break up Democratic strongholds. Republican leaders claim the mix of urban and rural concerns makes for a united congressional delegation.

The Legislature's Redistricting Committee has approved the Republican plan to divide Salt Lake County among the state's three U.S. House members -- Republican Reps. Jim Hansen and Chris Cannon and Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson. Matheson's district would go from 43 percent Democrat to 30 percent Democrat as the west side of Salt Lake County is split between Hansen and Cannon and more rural areas are added to Matheson's district. The plan awaits formal approval of the full Legislature in a Sept. 25 special session and the signature of Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt.

Democratic Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson said, "Regardless of people's political party affiliation, their sense of fairness is going to be offended by this," said Anderson. "This is just part and parcel of the arrogance that comes with having a monopoly on political power."

Matheson said the map proved that "the legislative redistricting process has been a sham. ... (Republicans) have chosen to ignore what the people have told them in every public hearing," to keep communities of interest together."

Rep. Chad Bennion, R-Murray, was the only Republican on the committee to vote with Democrats against the congressional plan. "I still want an urban-rural mix, but I don't want to split Salt Lake City," he said.

However, Rep. Katherine Bryson, R-Orem, said she found it "rather insulting" that Salt Lake City Democrats believe they are the only residents with urban problems in need of creative solutions. The entire congressional delegation, she said, ought to be "back there doing their duty for the state as a whole."


Redistricting Committee adopts plan to trisect Salt Lake County
St George UT Spectrum (AP) 15Sep01 T2
Associated Press


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