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3 of 5 members named to district commission

Paper: Gazette, The ( Cedar Rapids-Iowa City, IA)

Date: August 1, 2007

CEDAR RAPIDS - Linn County Republican Chairman Jim Conklin has named Barbara Hames and former state Rep. Jeff Elgin, both of Cedar Rapids, as members of the county's temporary redistricting commission.

The Linn County supervisors, all Democrats, will appoint the other three commission members at their meeting this morning.

Supervisor Linda Langston said former longtime supervisor Jean Oxley has accepted one of the seats. The supervisors were still working to finalize the other two slots as of last night.

The supervisors also will set a meeting place and a budget for the commission at today's meeting.

Of the Republican picks, Conklin said, "Jeff has a lot of experience at the state level in redistricting and understands the process. Barbara represents so many rural people and business people well and has a strong personality. This is not going to break down into a partisan war. These two people work really well with the other side."

The commission will oversee the formation of five supervisor districts for Linn County. Voters last Tuesday decided to switch from Plan 1, at large, to Plan 3, supervisors living in a district and elected by people within their district.

The districts are likely to each have about 38,400 people, based on the 2000 census.

Towns with populations of less than 38,400 cannot be split, meaning Cedar Rapids is the only city that can be split. Parts of Cedar Rapids would likely be in four of the five districts.

The commission has until Feb. 15 to create a district plan and hold a public hearing on it.

Linn Auditor Joel Miller has notified the supervisors that his office would not be involved in drawing the boundaries for the five supervisor districts. Miller recommended that the commission be encouraged to use the services of the state's Legislative Service Agency to draw the district boundaries.

The supervisors said that decision is the commission's.

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Copyright (c) 2007, Gazette Communications, Inc.

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Copyright (c) 2007, Gazette Communications, Inc.