By Ronnie Ellis / CNHI News Service
State House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins said Monday he is considering moving his residence from Catlettsburg to one of the counties in the newly drawn House 99th District.
The latest map released Friday by House Democratic leaders lumps Adkins in the 100th District covering Boyd County with Democratic Rep. Kevin Sinnette of Ashland.
Adkins has a residence in Catlettsburg which was part of the old 99th District which had part of Boyd County including Catlettsburg as well as Elliott, Rowan and Lawrence counties. But he listed his home as his native Sandy Hook in Elliott County in legislative directories.
The new 99th is an open seat which includes Elliott, Lewis and Rowan counties, two of which Adkins has previously represented — Elliott and Rowan. He went to college at Morehead State University in Rowan County, which he said he always “considered my second home.”
Moving into that district “is an option that I have and that is an option that I’m seriously considering,” Adkins said. “I haven’t made a final decision yet but it is an option that I have and it’s a decision that I’ll make in the very near future.”
Adkins said his decision will rest among other things on the impact of such a move on his family, noting that his daughter would have to move school systems if he makes the move.
But he said there was little option to the way the 100th and 99th districts were drawn in the new map because of population shifts in the eastern part of the state, guidelines laid out by courts, and the desire to keep Boyd County whole.
Before Adkins told reporters he is considering moving his residence, Sinnette said he hadn’t spoken to Adkins about what each might do in 2014 when all 100 House seats are on the ballot. But he said he was not considering moving.
He, too, said it was his first priority to keep Boyd County in one district. (Rep. Tanya Pullin’s 98th District in Greenup County takes in a handful of Boyd County precincts in order to reach the desirable population size for her district.)
The General Assembly convened Monday in special session for its third attempt to draw new legislative districts.
The U.S. Constitution requires state legislatures to re-draw legislative districts every 10 years following the U.S. Census count. Typically, majority parties draw maps to benefit their incumbents and punish the minority and plans passed in 2012 by the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate did just that.
But those plans were declared unconstitutional by the state courts. This spring, the Democratic-controlled House passed a map for House districts but the Senate did not act on it or pass one of its own.
Two separate groups have filed federal lawsuits over the lack of a new legislative map and federal judges Friday issued an order declaring the current maps, based on the 2000 Census, unconstitutional.
The proposed new House map also combines incumbent Democrats Hubert Collins and John Will Stacy in the new 97th and places two sets of Republicans together: C.B. Embry and Jim DeCesare in the 17th and Myron Dossett and Ben Waide in the 9th.
Collins, who lives in Wittensville in Johnson County, said he plans to run for re-election under the new map — and he expects his friend Stacy to run, too.
“I’m running,” Collins said. “Rep. Stacy and I sat down and we’ve talked and we’re going to run a low-key race. Everything is going to be positive with no negative propaganda.”
“That’s just the way it is in politics sometimes,” Stacy said of the two friends finding themselves in the same district.
Stacy lives in West Liberty in Morgan County, in the center of the three-county district covering Johnson, Morgan and Wolfe counties. The district is about 65 percent Democratic in registration with the largest number of those in Morgan County.
“Geographically, it favors a Morgan County candidate,” Stacy said. “But we’ve both agree to run a positive campaign and I hope we’ll be friends no matter what happens because I like Hubie.”
Embry said he won’t decide what he might do until he sees what final bill passes.
While the House plan lumps him into DeCesare’s district, the proposed new Senate map moves his home county of Butler into Democratic Sen. Jerry Rhoads’ district which also includes Ohio County where Embry once lived and once served as County Judge/Executive.
One potential option for Embry could be to file for that Senate seat in 2014
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.