Herald Journal Herald and Journal, March 25, 2002

Redistricting shifts local lawmakers

By Lynda Jensen

New boundaries ordered by a panel of five state court judges last week gave three local lawmakers somewhat of a dilemma.

For US Rep. Mark Kennedy, it will cause him to choose between two newly formed congressional districts ­ District 2 or District 6, which is where Wright County will be grouped.

The redistricting left him as the only congressional representative without a seat, since his home near Watertown is located just outside of district 2.

If Kennedy campaigns in District 6 this fall, he may run against Democrat Bill Luther. If Kennedy tries to re-claim District 2, he would run against Republican John Kline, who was defeated by Luther in the past election, since Kline already announced his intention to run in District 2.

The Kennedys have strong family ties to District 2.

Kennedy's children attend school in Carver County and participate in 4-H there, which is inside District 2. The Kennedy family attends church in Watertown, and he is a member of the Lions Club in Watertown, which is also inside District 2.

Kennedy also interacts with District 6, which is where his district office is located in Buffalo. Kennedy lived in Shoreview for seven years, and attended undergraduate studies at St. John's University, which are located in District 6.

His wife, Debbie, taught at Forest Lake High School, and the congressman also owned property in Grant Township, located inside District 6.

Kennedy will announce his decision today

For State Rep. Tony Kielkucki, it will cause him to trade off portions of Wright and Carver counties, formerly known as District 20B), for all of McLeod County (now district 18A)

Previously, Kielkucki represented the Howard Lake area, however, this territory will switch over to Rep. Bob Ness of Dassel. Ness will also cover Middleville, Cokato and Stockholm townships.

Kielkucki stressed that he would follow through with his present constituents, even though the changes will not take place until November elections.

"Roughly 80 percent of my district is new," Kielkucki said. "But I'm excited about meeting and representing my new constituents."

This leaves the townships of Victor and Woodland, located inside a newly formed district, District 19B.

Dick Borrell of Waverly announced his candidacy for the new District 19B.

For State Sen. Steve Dille, it will cause less of an impact to local voters, other than the expansion of his district boundaries.

Dille went from District 20 to District 18. The new District 18 includes all of Meeker and McLeod counties, plus the following cities and townships in Wright County: Howard Lake, Cokato, Annandale, French Lake, Middleville, South Haven, Southside, Stockholm and Corrina.

Dille expressed satisfaction that his fellow Republicans Kielkucki and Ness fell inside District 18, and were not paired with any incumbents.

Redistricting occurs every 10 years as the result of the census, to ensure proportionate representation in relation to population.

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