The Pryor Times

Opinion

February 28, 2011

Burrage serves as co-chair of Committee on Redistricting

This month the Senate Committee on Redistricting began a series of public hearings in communities throughout the state.  I am honored to serve as co-chair of this committee, which has been charged with the constitutionally mandated task of redrawing the boundaries of legislative districts based on population changes.  This occurs every 10 years, and is based on U.S. Census data.

The purpose of the public hearings is to give anyone who is interested in the process the opportunity to learn more about how it works and share any concerns they have regarding redistricting.  I also believe that anytime we work to open up government and increase transparency, citizens have greater confidence in the process.

According to the 2000 Census, Oklahoma’s population was 3,450,654.  The 2010 census shows our state has grown over the last decade, and lists our population as 3,751,331.  The area I represent at the State Capitol, Senate District 2, has also seen significant growth since the 2000 Census.  At that time Rogers County had a population of 70,640, and Mayes County was 38,369.  In 2010, Rogers County had swelled to 86,905.  Mayes County also saw a boost in residents, with a population of 41,259.

The purpose of redrawing district lines every ten years is to make sure each district has approximately the same number of people.  That way a Senate District in Eastern Oklahoma has exactly the same representation as any district in any other area of the state.  Based on the results of the 2000 Census, when Oklahoma lawmakers redrew district lines then, they had to do it in such a way to ensure that each Senate district had approximately 71 thousand people.  Ten years later, our panel must redraw state senate district boundaries to ensure each of our 48 districts has 78 thousand

people.

Because our total population for this district now stands at 82,935, which is over the target of 78,000, the boundaries of Senate District 2 will definitely have to change.  As a result, some citizens who have been in District 2 for the past several years will find themselves part of another Senate District.  What district they wind up in will be determined by our committee in the weeks and months to come.

Thanks again for reading my “Senate Review.” If you have any questions on a legislative matter, please do not hesitate to contact my Senate office at the Capitol by calling (405) 521-5555 or writing me with your concerns at:  Senator Sean Burrage, 2300 North Lincoln Blvd. Rm. 529-B State Capitol Building, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.  I always enjoy hearing from my constituents and consider it an honor to be your voice in the Oklahoma State Senate.  May God bless each of you.

 

 

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