Doug Hart

Redistricting takes Rockford out of 73rd

August 11, 2011 // 0 Comments

City will be grouped with Cedar Springs, Sparta, Walker and Grandville  by BETH ALTENA For the last ten years the City of Rockford has sat in the center of the 73rd House of Representatives District, served by Pete MacGregor, Tom Pearce and Doug Hart. Census figures prompted a Republican-designed shift of political districts, which, unless ruled improper by a judge, will have Rockford in the 74th District rather than the 73rd, paired with the communities of Cedar Springs, Sparta, Algoma Township, Solon, Tyrone, Kent City, Sparta, Algoma Grandville and Walker. Currently Rockford is in the 73rd District, with Pete MacGregor as State Representative. Although MacGregor lives a stone’s throw away from the City of Rockford’s eastern boundary, as a resident of Cannon Township, he will no longer represent Rockford if reelected in November 2012. “It is based on populations and very stringent and redistricting guidelines,” said MacGregor. Currently, according to the most recent census figures, his district represents over 100,000 residents. Representatives are supposed to represent about 89,000 residents. “It is because Kent County has experienced tremendous growth. The City of Grand Rapids and the Village of Sparta are about the only two areas who have not grown. Every other area has gained population.” Redistricting takes place every ten years following census figures, and the party in power draws the lines. It is typical, even expected, the minority party to cry foul and make accusations of germandering—the practice of designing political districts to favor a particular party. This year’s process is no exception. MacGregor said the redistricting begins in the legislature and then goes to the governor. Once the governor signs off on the new district boundaries, typically the minority party will challenge the legality of the new districts. Ultimately the case could be put forth to the Supreme Court, and if determined to be unacceptable, a judge could choose the challenger’s plan. This is unlikely, MacGregor believes. The entire process has to be completed decided by November 1, this year. “I will be campaigning in the new district next year,” MacGregor noted. He said he was “devastated” when he saw the new district because he feels strong ties to Rockford because of its proximity, his history working with local leaders, because his kids go […]