By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The proposed new redistricting maps from the Committee on Reapportionment were made available to the public on Thursday. Every ten years the legislature has to reapportion the legislative districts as population shift have occurred over the decade. The constitutionally required redistricting process is based on the decennial United States Census.
Since 2000, more Alabamians have moved away from both aging inner city areas like Birmingham and heavily rural counties like Dallas County. The population of the state has shifted towards suburban areas such as Shelby, St. Clair, and Baldwin Counties. The newly redrawn districts reflect those movements in our population. In 2002, the Alabama Democratic Party controlled the redistricting process and their critics accused them of gerrymandering certain districts in a way as to hold on to as many Democratic seats as possible. Despite those efforts, Republicans won control of both Houses of the Alabama legislature in 2010. As a result, the committee on redistricting this time was majority Republican. The Co-chairmen of the Committee on reapportionment were Representative Jim McClendon (R) from Springville and Senator Gerald Dial (R) from Lineville.
Some legislators have gained more territory some lost territory as redistricting follows the population shifts that have occurred between the census of 2000 and 2010. Some Senators will arguably have a much easier time being reelected due to the changes and others will have a much more difficult challenge retaining their seat in the 2014 election.
One of the Senators most affected by the new redistricting map is freshman Senator Jerry Fielding (D) from Sylacauga. His 11th district Senate seat had consisted of all of Talladega and Coosa Counties as well as southern Calhoun and western Elmore Counties. That old district has been divided six ways. Lincoln in Northern Talladega County is now in Sen. Scott Beason’s (R from Gardendale) District. Sen. Del Marsh (R) from Anniston gave up Northern St. Clair County to Sen. Beason (who lost Southern St. Clair County County) to the 11th District; while Marsh (R) from Anniston received Oxford, south Anniston, and the rest of Calhoun County from the 11th District. Sen. Beason’s Senate district now includes Ashville, Ragland, and North Lincoln. Sen. Slade Blackwell’s Suburban Shelby County/South Jefferson County 15th district now stretches west into rural Talladega County including part of the city of Talladega. Coosa County and a portion of Elmore County have moved to the 30th District which stretches to Montgomery. The new 11th District now consists of Sen. Fielding’s residence in Sylacauga, Springville, Moody, Argo, Odenville, Pell City, Stemley, Lincoln (south of I-20), part of the city of Talladega, Columbiana, Wilsonville, Calera east of I-65 and Alabaster east of I-65. The new parts of the 11th District are heavily Republican leaning. Efforts to reach Senator Fielding Thursday were unsuccessful.
In the House, as was expected, the rapidly declining City of Birmingham lost a House district. Rep. Patricia Todd (D) now lives in the same House district as Rep. Demetrious Newton (D). Madison County however has gained a majority minority district. Rep. Jo Hubbard’s (D) Montgomery house is now in Rep. Joe McNight’s (D) district.
To view the proposed redistricting of the Alabama Senate:
To view the proposed redistricting of the Alabama House of Representatives: