New proposed congressional district alignment released

House lawmakers have unveiled a proposed congressional redistricting map for the state of Oklahoma.

 “The proposed congressional redistricting plan adheres to the basic principles outlined when we began this process,” said House Speaker Kris Steele, a Shawnee Republican. “It does not needlessly divide communities of interest, it protects the rights of citizens, and it is carefully constructed to ensure each district has equal population.”

 “Because we are committed to a sensible redistricting process, the new map is not dramatically different than the old one,” said state Rep. Dale DeWitt, a Braman Republican and chair of the House Redistricting Committee. “Rural districts remain rural and urban districts remain urban, and each district contains an almost identical number of citizens. I believe this plan will easily gain passage in both chambers of the Legislature.”

 House Bill 1527 creates the “Oklahoma Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011.” According to the 2010 Census, Oklahoma’s total population is 3,751,351; therefore, each of the state’s five congressional districts should have approximately 750,270 people.

 The proposed map makes only minor modifications to the current congressional lines while meeting the population goals specified by federal law. In fact, four of the five districts have exactly the same number of people, and the other congressional district has just one extra person.

 Congressional District 1 comprises Tulsa, Wagoner, and Washington counties, as well as portions of Creek and Rogers counties, totaling 750,270 people.

 Congressional District 2 comprises Adair, Atoka, Bryan, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Craig, Delaware, Haskell, Hughes, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, Marshall, Mayes, McCurtain, McIntosh, Muskogee, Nowata, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Ottawa, Pittsburg, Pushmataha, and Sequoyah counties, and a majority of Rogers County, totaling 750,270 people.

 Congressional District 3 comprises Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Major, Noble, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Roger Mills, Texas, Washita, Woods, and Woodward Counties, and a majority of Canadian and Creek counties, totaling 750,270 people.

 Congressional District 4 comprises Carter, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Garvin, Grady, Jefferson, Love, McClain, Murray, Pontotoc, Stephens, and Tillman counties, and portions of Canadian and Oklahoma Counties, totaling 750,270 people.

 Congressional District 5 comprises Pottawatomie and Seminole counties, and a majority of Oklahoma County, totaling 750,271 people.

 Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation praised the plan.

 “I salute the Oklahoma state House and Senate leadership for coming to a swift and sensible solution on redistricting,” said U.S. Rep. John Sullivan. “Our entire Congressional delegation is united behind this plan, which will ensure equal representation for all Oklahomans.”

 “The redistricting process undertaken by the state Legislature has been fair and without controversy. The state’s congressional delegation, led by Congressman Frank Lucas, and the leadership of the state Legislature have worked together throughout the entire process in a bipartisan way,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, a Democrat. 

 “I am extremely excited about the possibility of representing Marshall County in Congress.  I spent quite a bit of my early childhood on Lake Texoma. Also, my grandmother, Oteka, was born in Lebanon and my late mother, Janna, grew up in Madill.  My uncle Dan Little currently lives in Marshall County along with several other relatives,” Boren concluded.

 “The every 10 year process of congressional redistricting is one of the important constitutional responsibilities placed on state legislatures. I applaud Speaker Kris Steele and Chairman Dale DeWitt for advancing legislation to this stage of the process,” said U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas. “Their efforts to create five Congressional Districts that continue to reflect common interest will serve Oklahomans well for the next decade.”

 “The Oklahoma Legislature is to be commended for their quick and responsive action to establish congressional districts for the next decade.  There is very little change in current boundaries, which suggests most Oklahomans find the present districts to be sensible, effective, and constituent-friendly,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Cole. “The fact that redistricting has been conducted in such a bipartisan, open and transparent fashion speaks well of the Legislature and is likely to spare Oklahoma the political vitriol and judicial battles that will accompany the process in other states.  This could not have happened without the hard work of Speaker Kris Steele, Redistricting Chairman Dale DeWitt and their fellow members.  I am confident the State Senate will conduct itself in a similar manner and come to the same conclusions.”

 “Redistricting of congressional and legislative districts is one of the most important and often contentious duties of the state legislature,” said Fifth District Congressman James Lankford.  “I thank the Oklahoma Legislature and its leadership for their efficient and fair labors in drawing lines that will serve the citizens of Oklahoma and the constituents of our five Congressional  districts for the next 10 years. “

 If approved, the Oklahoma Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 will be effective at the beginning of the terms of U.S. Representatives elected in November 2012, provided the State Election Board is required to conduct elections for Oklahoma congressional offices according to the act.

 Citizens can view the legislation, an accompanying bill summary, and associated maps at the House Redistricting webpage.