Those who attended are interested in seeing the recent
growth in the region reflected in the new boundaries.
Berkeley County Senator John Unger chairs the Senate
Ten years ago Unger challenged the legislature’s
redistricting plan in court because it kept four Senators in Kanawha County,
which lost population, and two in Berkeley and Jefferson which gained
Since then, Kanawha County’s population has declined another
7,010 residents while Berkeley and Jefferson Counties gained 37,612.
Mike Roberts of Hedgesville followed the issue back then and
didn’t approve of how the districts for the House of Delegates were drawn.
“We happen to live in the 52nd district and it
was one of the new districts and it was gerrymandered all the way from the
Maryland line along the Potomac River, all the way to Virginia in the next
county so it was a long, thin strip of precincts,” Roberts said.
Roberts attended the meeting with his wife, Shelley, who
also hopes the area is treated more fairly this time.
“I think its very exciting for the Eastern Panhandle, being a
citizen over here it’s nice that we’ve got, maybe get a new delegate and get
some say in Charleston,” she said.
The Roberts were among those in attendance who are also
concerned about how the U.S. Congressional Districts are configured.
20 years ago when West Virginia lost a seat in the House of
Representatives, the Eastern Panhandle was linked with Kanawha County.
Brad Noll of Hedgesville said he would like to see that
“I basically came to the meeting because I feel that the
Eastern Panhandle just doesn’t get any representation, we really have very
little in common with Charleston and I’d just like to see a change in that
aspect of it,” Noll said.
This is the first of 12 meetings the state senate
redistricting committee has scheduled across the state.
Several members of the House of Delegates also attended last
Later this month, the House leadership plans to appoint a
redistricting committee and the legislature is expected to meet in special
session in August or September to finalize a redistricting plan.