Anoka County district lines have been drawn
- Article by: PAUL LEVY
- Star Tribune
- May 5, 2012 - 9:15 PM
The lines have been drawn. Let the campaigning begin.
Six of Anoka County's seven commissioners' seats are up for election this year, the county board announced last week after officially approving a redistricting plan. Jim Kordiak is the only commissioner who won't have to run for re-election; his term runs through 2014.
"We wanted to make sure there was logic to the redefined districts," said County Board Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah. "We wanted to preserve communities of interest."
Redistricting occurs every 10 years, after the U.S. census, to make adjustments so that districts have about the same populations. Counties had until last week to complete the job.
All of the Anoka County incumbents whose districts were altered are expected to seek re-election. Four seats will be up for four-year terms. The other two -- Districts 5 and 7, held by Carol LeDoux and Dan Erhart -- will be for two-year terms. That will keep the terms staggered.
Erhart, Kordiak and LeDoux are not part of the conservative majority of Sivarajah, Robyn West, Matt Look and Andy Westerberg who often vote together. But when Sivarajah explained the two-year terms, politics were not part of the explanation.
Districts 5 and 7 did not have to be on the ballot 10 years ago, the last time there was redistricting, she said.
"We looked at minority populations and wanted to make sure we were setting things up in a way that gives them every opportunity to elect somebody from a minority population," Sivarajah said.
The greatest changes geographically:
District 7, represented by Erhart, now includes two precincts from Andover.
District 1, represented by Look, which lost the Andover precincts, now includes Oak Grove.
The board wanted to avoid any city landing in more than three districts. As it is, under the new map, Andover falls into three (now represented by Erhart, LeDoux and Westerberg). Blaine also will land in three districts (now represented by West, Westerberg and Sivarajah).
"If you look at a map, the redistricting was done in a way that was very fair, and not political," Sivarajah said
Possible candidates include Coon Rapids Council Member Scott Schulte (District 7) and state Sen. Michael Jungbauer (District 2, held by Westerberg).
Allison Lister, the outgoing Anoka County Veterans Services director who questioned the county board's leadership and "lack of communication," said she considered running for Westerberg's seat. As an Oak Grove resident, she has been moved into District 1 and might still run for commissioner, against Look.
The filing period is May 22 through June 5.
Paul Levy 612-673-4419
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