New maps alter U-area district

The northern part of the Southeast Como neighborhood is no longer part of the U district.

New maps alter U-area district

Kevin Burbach

A panel of judges revealed Tuesday what congressional and legislative district lines will look like for the next 10 years.

Every 10 years in Minnesota after the U.S. Census data is released, district lines in the state are redrawn to reflect population changes. In theory, every congressional and legislative district should have close to the same number of residents.

With the new lines, the University of Minnesota now falls into the new Senate District 60 and House District 60B. The University is currently in Senate District 59 and House District 59B.

The lines will go into effect in November when every state legislator and Congressional House member will be up for re-election.

Besides the name change, the boundaries of the University’s new districts are relatively similar except for a few changes.

The House District shrunk slightly as Rep. Diane Loeffler’s current House District 59A swallowed up the northern part of Rep. Phyllis Kahn’s district. The University’s district also absorbed a small part of the Seward neighborhood on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

Unlike members of Congress, state legislators have to live in the district they represent. This means that when districts are shifted, some legislators are moved into each other’s areas and are forced to run against each other or relocate.

Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, lives on Nicollet Island and her home is unaffected by the new lines and Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, who lives in the center of the district, is also untouched.

Kahn, who began as a legislator after the 1972 redistricting process and has served through three rounds of redistricting since, said this time around was the least drastic.

“This is probably less of a change than most of them have been,” Kahn said.

Kahn has served in the area for almost 30 years and said she has seen the district change over time.

She said years ago she used to have a larger portion of Northeast Minneapolis. Ten years ago, the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood was moved into her district.

Kahn said she was fine with this round of redistricting but wished that the Southeast Como neighborhood had stayed in one district.

“It doesn’t really matter because Diane Loeffler and I usually work together, but it’s a little bit of a shame,” Khan said, “Como has consistently been split and it’s really one neighborhood.”

The Senate District that covers the University, which will now be District 60, changed very little. Only the portion in the southern corner that covers part of the Seward neighborhood was added.

Dziedzic, the current senator who will be running for re-election in November said she had seen previous maps that incorporated part of downtown Minneapolis and is happy with the final lines.

“There’s a lot of diversity in the district,” Dziedzic said. “And that’s exciting. I’m happy it stayed that way.”

The 5th Congressional District, occupied by Rep. Keith Ellison, D–Minn., grew only slightly.

Ellison, who represents the University area, said he was excited about the new additions to his district, which include all of Brooklyn Park, some of Brooklyn Center and some of Edina.

Although Ellison’s district changed only slightly, he said it’s still very important for him to reach out to the new constituents in the district.

Ellison said he was excited about everybody he would be able to represent in the new district.

“I’m just real happy,” Ellison said. “It’s such a privilege to represent the people of Minnesota.”

Other significant changes around the state involve the 4th Congressional District, which now includes both Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Michele Bachmann. A large portion of the eastern side of central Minnesota used to be part of Bachmann’s 6th District and is now part of McCollum’s 4th District.

Bachmann told the Associated Press on Tuesday that she would run for the now-open 6th District seat and not run against McCollum.

In the state House, the new districts put six DFL pairs together, six Republican pairs and three matchups between DFLers and Republicans.

Rep. Alice Hausman, a DFLer who represents the University’s St. Paul campus area, is set to face off against Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-St. Paul. Greiling announced in Janunary that she’ll retire at the end of the session.

For the state Senate, the new lines put two pairs of DFLers against each other, four pairs of Republicans against each other, and create two matchups between DFLers and Republicans.