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Proposed redistricting pulls Jasper County out of Boswell’s district

The proposed redistricting of Iowa’s congressional and legislative districts could leave Newton without an incumbent U.S. congressman during the next election cycle.

The proposed district maps, released Thursday, place Rep. Leonard Boswell in the third district, which no longer includes Newton and Jasper County.

Most of Jasper County, including Newton, would be slotted in Senate District 15. However, Monroe, Reasnor, Sully and Lynnville would be in District 14, a senate district that stretches down to the Iowa and Missouri border.

Sen. Black lives about six miles north of Lynnville and would remain just inside the border of District 15.

Sen. Black was assessing the plan and said he would write his full thoughts in a Keeping in Touch column for Monday.

“In a nutshell, though,” he wrote via e-mail, “I have long ago taken the position that it is a roll of the dice, and I have complete confidence in the non-partisan service agency that prepares the plan. It is acceptable from a provincial standpoint, and it’s really not politically biased on the overall. The congressional districts are well devised. Strangely, the new Senate District 15 which I would inherit under this plan is split by two congressional districts! I was under the impression that couldn’t be done ... wrong again!”

Iowa has five U.S. congressional seats, but will lose a seat following results of the 2010 census. Newton and Jasper County currently reside in the third district, served by Democrat Leonard Boswell. Under the proposal, Jasper County would be included in the second district, which would be redrawn to include southeastern Iowa. Polk County and Boswell would remain in the third district, which would be redrawn to include southwestern Iowa. Meanwhile, Republican Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King would be placed in the same district while Democratic Reps. Bruce Baley and Dave Loebsack would be in the other district.

Jasper County and the rest of the second district would have no incumbent.

“During my time in public service I have represented 32 different counties in our great state,” Boswell said. “Whatever the conclusion of our redistricting process, I look forward to continuing to represent Iowa and fighting for her interests.”

Had this redistricting happened a few years ago, Sen. Black said he might have considered running for U.S. Congress. That’s less likely now.

“I really think if it had been a few years back I would have done so,” he said. “At the same time it would not surprise me one bit to see Christie Vilsack run for congressional seat in district 2.”

The proposal is not yet finalized and is subject to changes. See the new maps on above and read State Rep. Dan Kelley’s thoughts on the process on page 4A.

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