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      South Georgia speaks up about new congressional districts

      The Congressional Reapportionment Committee is taking a 12 stop tour of the peach state to hear what people have to say about redistricting. The committee made a stop in Albany Monday evening at Albany State University.

      We're looking to get input from the public on what they'd like to see in their house, senate and congressional districts as well as the public service commission, says State Representative Ed Rynders (District 152).

      Congressional lines are redrawn every ten years after the census to reapportion state House and Senate seats to accommodate population changes.

      I don't think there's any question that South Georgia is in for some changes Georgia has averaged about 18 percent population growth, south of Macon much smaller than that, says Rynders.

      One citizen spoke in front of the committee saying there are two Georgias: The metropolitan area and the agricultural area. She says the state congress should not overlook the areas that don TMt have metropolitan resources because South Georgia does have a voice.

      Many others mimicked her thoughts.

      I'm also delighted to hear the comments that we need to try to keep our people together and keep our district together, that there are two different areas to be considered and we want to have every criteria considered for our area, says Dorothy Hubbard, Albany City Commissioner (Ward II). We need to make sure that we're well represented and that we're not forgotten down here, afterall we do make some contributions to this state.

      We TMre saying let's let someone else have Muskogee county and let's move the area into an ag and rural area with the representation so that we keep communities of interest together, says Mike Keown who voiced his opinion as a concerned citizen for the area.

      Keown also says congressional district lines should be drawn not only to represent the area, but also to be fair.

      Conservatives have been in a district that's been gerrymandered for the last 20 years to make sure the incumbent could be reelected so my remarks were mainly let's just make it fair, says Keown. We were finally able to mount a challenge against an incumbent rep that nobody thought could be and he didn't get beat but we won 20 out of the 32 counties, we won over 48 percent of the vote, so it's that close and I said let's just leave it that close, says Keown.

      I'm absolutely convinced though that at the end of the day we'll draw fair, reasonable and legal lines, says Rynders.

      Tift County residents expressed concern that the new congressional districts would split up the county even more than it is now. They say it is difficult to note just one legislator when the time comes for them to contact their district TMs representative.

      If you were unable to attend the Congressional Reapportionment Committee TMs public hearing, you can submit your comments or concerns to them through the following website.