The 2020 census will mean changes to the state's political maps. The redistricting process is underway, and there's an effort to get the public involved.
Tuesday night, the redistricting roadshow made its way to Lafayette. The public had a chance to get a better idea of the changes that could be in store. Legislators throughout the state and here in Acadiana hosted constituents at UL Lafayette as part of their redistricting road trip.
Data from the 2020 census shows populations in St. Mary, Acadia, and Iberia parishes declined, which leaves them vulnerable to possible changes in the state legislature.
“We have one from St. Mary, we have one from Iberia and St. Martin. That's fair and equal representatives and just like our government is supposed to be set up. There's been discretion about cutting up Iberia and St. Martin Parish, chopping it up. To the east, St. Mary Parish; to the west, Lafayette Parish. What are the reasons for this? Population. It's just part of the political process, but I can tell you the population and Iberia and St Martin is about 120,000 people, ideally and perfectly suited for a senate district. Why change it?” said Dist. 49 State Representative Blake Miguez.
"The Senate District 22 has 120,000 people in it and you need 120,000 people to have a senate district. We just want to remain as we are, we want to remain a district that is St. Martin- and Iberia-centric,” said Dist. 22 State Senator Fred Mills.
As for other Acadiana parishes, Lafayette has an increased population.
"Over the last two decades, it's grown over 40,000 people. It's good that Lafayette is growing, but it's difficult in the redistricting process because that means that the constitution requires that all districts be equal in population," explained Dist. 23 State Rep. Page Cortez. "That means I have to, in my district, lose some population to other districts that are neighboring."
The legislature will continue the road trip through mid-January, with a redistricting session immediately following.
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