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Thursday, January 5, 2012


by Michael Monks 
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The Covington City Commission unanimously passed a resolution Thursday afternoon opposing any redistricting of House District 65, represented by Democrat Arnold Simpson. But just prior to the vote, City Manager Larry Klein presented to the Mayor and Commissioners an email detailing that his office had heard from the office of House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonburg). Klein was told that there were no plans on the table to change any of the boundaries of the 65th. Stumbo's office contacted Covington City Hall after a press release was issued Wednesday indicating the Commission's plans for a resolution.
With that last second addition to the conversation, the Commission proceeded with their planned business and passed the resolution 5 - 0. Each Commissioner spoke on the matter, echoing much of their previous remarks. However, Mayor Chuck Scheper weighed in for the first time. "We need a clear and distinct voice in Frankfort," Scheper said. 
Commissioner Steve Frank read an email that he composed and sent to Stumbo's office: 
Our opposition is not based on partisan politics nor is it based on the personalities involved in the potential redistricting. As things are presently constituted, we are already split between two House Districts, Arnold Simpson in HD 65 and Tom Kerr in HD 64. If we are divided into thirds, by placing the historic part of Covington into HD 67; Covington would become the largest urban core city in the Commonwealth that has become so divided that we would no longer have a distinct voice in Frankfort. Covington is a Second Class city with a population of over 40,000 people. That is enough that we would be more than one entire State Representative District. Frankly if we are divided into thirds, effectively our voice would become controlled by our suburban neighbors who often do not share our perspectives on issues that we feel are vitally important to the Commonwealth.
Additionally, an online petition (linked below) orchestrated by the Commission is now live on the internet where more Covington voices are being sought to speak out against any plans to change the boundaries of House District 65. 
Eastside neighborhood leader and activist Bennie Doggett shared concerns from her part of Covington. "I just feel that our neighborhood association would be disenfranchised and our community is totally opposed to this House Bill," Doggett said.

Sister Dorothy Schuette who works at Mother of God Catholic Church in Mutter Gottes and also at Catholic Charities in Latonia also spoke against redistricting. "We have particular social issues and social services and we would not want that diminished by having (representation) pulled away from the Downtown area," Schuette said.
SEE ALSO: The online petition is here.  

Press release with comments from commissioners: City of Covington Officially Opposes Redistricting
To see the full resolution: City Commission to Hold Special Meeting Opposing Redistricting
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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