Rep. Iverson weighs in on redistricting
Crook County residents can expect a few changes when the proposed district maps for the Oregon Legislature take effect.
The community is currently part of House District 55. The district includes Crook County in its entirety as well as southern Deschutes County and portions of Klamath, Lake and Jackson counties. The new map moves Crook County into District 59, which will again cover all of Crook County in addition to portions of northern Deschutes County, much of Jefferson County, including Madras, and northern portions of Redmond and Sisters.
Crook County will also change Senate districts, moving from District 28 — which includes much of the House District 55 geographic footprint and is served by Republican Dennis Linthicum — to District 30, which is served by Republican Lynn Findley of Vale.
House District 55 Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson, of Prineville, intends to continue representing Crook County in the legislature and consequently announced plans to run for the District 59 seat. If elected, Iverson doesn't envision Crook County's representation in the legislature to change much, but she noted it would have a Central Oregon-specific focus.
"This district now partners with some other communities, but the reality is the big issues that face us are not different," she said. "I'll still work with Deschutes County commissioners. I will now work more with Jefferson County commissioners. I won't have the other three sets of commissioners (from Klamath, Lake and Jackson counties) to work with, so my job might get slightly easier, just in the communication aspect and physically getting into the district."
Iverson notes that it currently takes her about three days to visit all of the District 55 communities. She expects it would take just one day to visit the communities in District 59 as proposed.
The proposed legislative map is under some dispute, but Iverson said the focus of the opposition is in Lane County and does not reflect the Central Oregon area. However, she did acknowledge that some changes will affect the Republican/Democrat voter balance in neighboring area.
"When we look at some of the representation we've had before the new maps are adopted, currently the representation of Jefferson County bleeds into The Dalles and that district has an advantage in registered Republican voters," she said. "The new map takes that away from that northern area of the district and it (puts) them with a more Democratic-leaning registration. So, that's not fair to those guys."
Iverson added that House District 53, served by Republican Jack Zika, becomes more Democrat-leaning.
"They pushed him more into the Bend area," she said.
But when it comes to Crook County representation, Iverson believes the community has fared well during the redistricting process. She points out that a couple other proposed maps would have split the county, a fate she and local leaders wanted to avoid.
"Prineville did a really good job of showing up for those hearings and saying, 'Don't split our county up,'" she said.
And while Crook County will be represented by a different senator — Findley instead of Linthicum — Iverson is optimistic that he will represent the county well in the Senate.
"He is a super great guy, and he has lived in eastern Oregon for a long time, so he is very knowledgeable about our needs as well," Iverson said. "I already have a good working relationship with him, so I don't anticipate any issues in the representation of our community."
While Iverson has stated her intentions to run for House District 59, she is still waiting to find out when the new maps take effect and when she can file. She has heard she can file by Jan. 17 but acknowledged that date could be a moving target.
"I think that is a bit flexible," she said, "since they are waiting on some of the court outcomes."
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