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Thursday, January 5, 2012


by Michael Monks 
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A press release from the City of Covington declares its official position against the redistricting of House District 65, represented in Frankfort by Democrat Arnold Simpson of the Old Seminary Square neighborhood. Three commissioners offer their position in comments (no comments from Mayor Chuck Scheper). Here is the release:
As many are aware, after every U.S. Census is conducted and results are tallied, the Congressional and General assembly districts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky must be modified if there is evidence of uneven population growth in the state. This
redistricting attempts to modify legislative districts to accommodate the uneven
population growth. In other words, the intention of the process is to maintain fair
representation to all, based on population. However, this year’s proposed redistricting has the potential to adversely affect the City of Covington. As Kentucky’s fifth largest city, Covington as a majority, is represented by Kentucky House District 65. Representative Arnold Simpson has held the seat since first elected in 1994. 
There is speculation that the proposed redistricting plan could remove Covington’s urban core from House District 65 and reassign it to House District
67, which primarily represents Campbell County citizens. This possibility has Covington elected officials very concerned. So concerned they will discuss and consider a resolution opposing the proposed redistricting plan at a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners on January 5, 201, 4:00 PM in Commission Chambers. 
“The City’s resolution opposing the proposal for Campbell County House District
67 to take over the heart of Covington’s historic urban core, should not be seen as
a dislike for Dennis Keene, Representative for House District 67. Dennis Keene
does an excellent job for his Campbell County District and has been good for the
Kentucky’s House of Representatives. The City’s resolution is about the importance of Covington keeping the heart of it historic urban core with representation from one of their own residents, especially someone like Representative Arnold Simpson who has strong roots in Covington and who has developed a deep understanding for the people and the fabric of Covington’s complex urban core.” - Commissioner Sherry Carran 
Commissioner Steve Frank commented, “The biggest problem with the potential
redistricting is that Covington may end up as the largest political entity in the
State without its own State Representative. Covington needs to maintain its own
unique voice in Frankfort. While we feel strongly that our current Representation
in Frankfort has been great and effective, this has nothing to do with personalities.
It has everything to do with Covington's interests and viability being continually
marginalized by some of our regional partners. Our anxiety level is particularly
high at this moment given that we have two major capital projects at stake in Frankfort, the Gateway Technical College's Urban Campus and the Expansion of
the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.” 
"It is my personal belief the citizens of Covington are best served at the state level
by being represented by one representative rather than our interests divided into
two or possibly three districts which would totally water down our voices." -Commissioner Steve Casper 
"There's no question in my mind that any redistricting will be a disservice to the
citizens of Covington. Politically disenfranchising certain groups of citizens is
not something that any of us should take lightly, and I encourage our legislators to
initiate a compromise that will preserve our representation in Frankfort, so as to
not divide our city." - Commissioner Shawn Masters 
Although it is not required by state statute, each chamber of the General Assembly is expected to prepare its own redistricting plan, which is then approved as ordinary
legislation. The City of Covington requests that the General Assembly maintain the
current boundaries of House District 65.

The Commission will convene at City Hall at 4:00PM in order to pass a resolution opposing the redistricting of State House District 65. Among the reasons listed in the resolution is the potential disenfranchisement of black voters in the Eastside neighborhood, which along with Licking Riverside, may be ceded to House District 67, which is mostly in Campbell County. The River City News has covered this from all angles, and you can find all the background information in the links below.
To see Rep. Arnold Simpson's position on losing a chunk of his district: Arnold Simpson Opposes Inevitable Redistricting 
To see the Commissioners remarks as well as remarks from Rep. Dennis Keene, who would be responsible for the Covington neighborhoods in Frankfort: Redistricting Will Leave Covington Without Unified Voice 

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