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How redistricting bill could make elected leaders tougher to beat at election time

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) The West Virginia legislature is working on a bill calling for each of their 100 delegates to represent one district.

If passed by both the House of Delegates and Senate, the redistricting that would happen after the 2010 census would mean each lawmaker would be serving less voters in a tighter area. 

"I think single members districts bring us closer to our districts. It makes me more responsive to constituents. The territory I share with Del. Cooper extends all the way from Raleigh to Monroe County. That's quite a hike," said Del. Jeff Pack, (R) Raleigh- 28th Dist.

Less territory means not only less time traveling for lawmakers, but less money spent on expensive campaigns. 

"This is supposed to be a part-time job. It doesn't pay enough to be a full-time job. So for people to run for the position they have to raise a ton of money. The smaller the district, the fewer people you have to contact and the less money you have to raise," added Del. John Shott, (R) Mercer -27th Dist.

But the move could also mean elected leaders are harder to defeat at election time. 

"Can you imagine the chaos that will occur when a hundred members of this body go down and tell the staff who they do and don't want in their district," asked Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha- 37th. "Practically, that's a nightmare."

Del. Pushkin has introduced an amendment calling for a non-partisan committee to draw the boundaries. 

"The politicians aren't supposed to pick the voters, the voters are supposed to pick the politicians. I think we should have someone who doesn't have any skin in the game drawing the districts." 

The issue of a non-partisan committee is likely to come up again as the bill heads to the Senate for consideration. 
 

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