, Corbin, KY

Local News

February 2, 2012

Area legislators wait and see on redistricting

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff writer

If the courts find the State Legislature’s redistricting plan constitutional, State Representative Marie Rader will find her 89th House District changing dramatically — with a razor-thin strip through the middle of Laurel County, connecting both Jackson and McCreary Counties.

In fact, if you go to the state Legislative Research Commission’s website at and look for her page, the map under her picture shows it best.

Rader will represent all of Jackson County (her home county), and she’ll represent all of McCreary County. But once you get to Laurel County, the area the Republican from McKee will represent tapers down to a thin sliver through Laurel County, almost like a highway on a road map, before you drive up north to Jackson County, or southwest to McCreary County.

Many people across Kentucky call the new districts “confusing.”

And that includes House members like Rader, as well as State Representative Tommy Turner, who’s new 85th House District includes part of western Laurel County and part of Pulaski County.

“I can drive quicker to Frankfort than to go through my new district,” Rader said in a telephone interview from Frankfort on Wednesday.

“I’m used to a lot of land area for a district, and I’ve been through redistricting before, back in the early 90s. Back then, my district was not only made up of Jackson County, but Owsley and Breathitt counties. And it was fairly easy to cover those areas, because the counties connected as one big land mass. Now the district I presently represent is made up of all of Jackson and Owsley counties and part of Laurel County. But with this new 89th District, my concern is, how will I be able to serve those constituents effectively with all the travel time involved?” Rader said.

Before Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued a temporary restraining order earlier this week, extending state legislative filing deadlines until next Tuesday, Feb. 7, while considering if the General Assembly’s redistricting plans are constitutional, Rader had filed for re-election. Her opponent in the May primary was to be Gregory Burdine, of Pine Knot.

Now Rader plays a waiting game, as do other House members across the Commonwealth, including Turner, a Republican from Somerset.

Before redistricting, Turner’s old 85th House District was made up of some of Laurel County and all of Pulaski County. The new map show’s Turner’s territory pared down to the western part of Laurel County and the eastern half of Pulaski County. He’s unopposed, but is equally confused.

“Depending on what happens, we just don’t know. It’s in litigation. All this is still very much in the air. It’s a disappointment, because it could have been so much easier to do, and with less partisanship, so it would benefit everyone,” Turner said Wednesday in a phone interview from Frankfort.

Before the restraining order, the filing deadline for state House and Senate candidates was this past Tuesday at 4 p.m. Now the period is extended to next Tuesday. And while local races in Whitley, Knox and Laurel counties aren’t affected, the deadline extension affects not only candidates for the State Senate and House, but also those running for the 5th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. During their session, the state legislature has tussled and wrangled with how to split up Kentucky’s six U.S. House districts.

As of last Tuesday, incumbent Republican Hal Rogers, of Somerset, would have faced Democrat Kenneth S. Stepp, of Manchester, in November’s election. Neither Rogers nor Stepp had opposition in their parties’ primaries this spring.

“Based on what I know, February 7th is the new deadline for those races in the Kentucky General Assembly. All my local people have filed here in Knox County, so they must have been pretty happy with the results. But in those State Senate and State House races, this extension may open up for someone to run. They may look at who’s running and say to themselves, ‘Hey, they’re unopposed. I think I’ll run,’” said Knox County Court Clerk Mike Corey.

The one race Corey’s keeping an eye on is the 25th Senate District seat, now held by incumbent Republican Robert Stivers, of Manchester. Before the extension on filing, Stivers had no GOP opposition in the May primary, but would have had Democrat Ralph Hoskins, of Manchester, as his opponent in the November election.

Stivers’ district did consist of Knox, Clay, Lee, Magoffin, Morgan, Owsley and Wolfe counties. After redistricting, the new 25th Senate District is made up of Knox, Clay, Jackson, Owsley, Lee, Wolfe, Menifee and Rowan counties.

“As of today, Stivers and Hoskins were still the only ones who filed. And as of Tuesday, (incumbent Republican) Jim Stewart, of Flat Lick, is the only one who’s filed for his House seat in the 86th District, made up of Knox and a part of Laurel County,” Corey said.

According to the state Legislative Research Commission in Frankfort, the General Assembly has already passed the bill on redistricting, with Governor Steve Beshear signing it. The LRC noted, “The new bill was to become law when the lawsuit was announced.”

But while area House members are watching what happens next, one State Senator is content with the plan.

“I can see where House members would have problems with redistricting. But my new district will be one big area now, and overall, it’s closer to home,” said State Senator Tom Jensen, of London, who’s old 21st District was made up of Laurel, Jackson, Estill, Powell and Menifee counties.

Under the new plan, Jensen’s Senate district would be made up of Laurel, Whitley and McCreary counties.

“This is so much better for me, having a district where all those counties come together, and with I-75 connecting two of them, traveling to meetings, events and seeing constituents will be much easier. I had some people from Jackson County come up to me in Frankfort today, urging me not to leave their county out of my Senate district. And I feel bad for those people I used to represent. But we do have to redistrict every 10 years due to how Kentucky’s population shifts,” Jensen noted.

During a telephone interview from Frankfort, Jensen pointed out a major reason for the changing of territories in the State Senate and State House, population — as well as another factor, transportation.

“Years ago, our forefathers settled in areas along rivers, like Louisville, Owensboro, Paducah, Covington and Ashland. Now people settle in areas along major highways. Because of I-65, Bowling Green is now the state’s third largest city. And because of I-75, both Whitley and Laurel counties are growth counties with rising populations. In my old district, every county east of Laurel County lost population. Roads are the new rivers,” Jensen said.

If the new redistricting plan goes through, the district of Whitley County’s current State Senator — Senate President David Williams, of Burkesville — would be moving west.

The 16th Senate District would lose Whitley and McCreary counties (which would be put in Jensen’s 21st District), and would be made up of Pulaski, Wayne, Clinton, Russell and Cumberland counties.

A lot can happen in the next few days at the State Capitol. But while the legislature waits to see what happens, most of the Tri-County’s members say they want the redistricting confusion to stop so they can get back to governing.

“We want it done and completed. But we also want to defend what our territory is, and what’s right, no matter what our politics are,” said Rader.

Text Only
Local News
  • swiss officer for web.jpg Swiss officer spends time with Laurel Co. deputies

    Fabien De Lucia is a police officer in a two-and-a-half square-mile city filled with 30,000 people.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 Chris Robinson FOR WEB.jpg Robinson new London Tourism director

    The London Tourism and Convention Commission voted Wednesday to hire Chris Robinson as their new director.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Restaurant tax problems being corrected

    Fazoli’s is now collecting London’s restaurant tax from its customers after nearly a month of not knowing it existed.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724 J. M. Hall, Donna Smith, Pat McDonald & Julio Cima FOR WEB.jpg Line-item resolution passed by Knox Court

    Several organizations in Knox County and Barbourville will get the benefit of coal severance tax money over the next two fiscal years thanks to a resolution passed Wednesday by the Knox County Fiscal Court.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. 25 work to begin Thursday

    A weeklong road work project for U.S. 25 in Laurel County is scheduled to start Thursday.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724 TAYLOR THROW for web.tif Airing It Out

    After another strong showing at the Eastern Kentucky University Passing Camp, first-year coach Justin Haddix is pleased with what he is seeing with his Corbin Redhound football players.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • TODAY'S HEADLINES — July 24, 2014

    Swiss officer spends time with Laurel Co. deputies

    Robinson new London Tourism director

    Restaurant tax problems being corrected

    Line-item resolution passed by Knox Court

    July 24, 2014

  • Couple pleads not guilty to abuse

    A Knox County couple facing charges in connection with second-degree burns on a child’s leg pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning during their preliminary hearings.
    Tyrone L. Person, 22, of Corbin, and Sierra Shepherd, 21, of Flat Lick, appeared before Judge John Chappell in Knox County District Court, according to a court official.

    July 23, 2014

  • Evaluation of Williamsburg Superintendent postponed

    An executive session to discuss and evaluate Williamsburg Independent Schools Superintendent Denny Byrd was slated for Tuesday night’s regular meeting — but an absence of one member postponed those plans.

    July 23, 2014

  • 0723 Capt. Coy Wilson, Harrison Creech & mom Samantha FOR WEB.jpg Heroes For A Day

    This boy likes to touch a truck — or in this case, the Corbin Police Department’s K9 Vehicle that was one of over 20 trucks, cars, boats, a helicopter and other vehicles stationed Tuesday at Corbin’s Rotary Park for the Sixth Annual “Touch A Truck” event.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter