Last updated: July 22. 2013 11:57AM - 203 Views
Eric Kephas

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State Rep. Dr. Terry Johnsons Ohio House District is set to be altered as part of the recently proposed new district map.
The first change is that the district would no longer be the 89th District. Instead, it would be the 90 District.
The more substantial change, however, involves the shift in territory that Johnson would represent. Before the proposed changes, the district was anchored by Scioto County, but also included roughly half of Adams and Lawrence counties. Under the proposed changes, the district more closely follows county lines. It includes all of Scioto, all of Adams and only a small portion of Lawrence.
Regardless of what the district ultimately ends up looking like, Johnson said he is just honored to represent southern Ohio.
Where the lines were previously was wonderful. I enjoyed being the representative for Scioto County, part of Lawrence County and part of Adams County, Johnson said. I just feel its an honor and a privilege to be the state representative for these good people.
Now with the proposed new lines, I have parts of Lawrence and it looks like more of Adams County, Johnson added. If thats true, I look forward to representing even more people there. Adams County is indicative of the kind of good people you find in southern Ohio.
According to Johnsons legislative aide, Scott Evans, the portion of Lawrence County retained in the district includes the city of Ironton, and the villages of Hanging Rock and Coal Grove. Although it might be geographically small, Evans said the area actually includes more than 16,000 people.
The new proposal also changes Ohios State Senate districts. Scioto County would remain part of the 14th Senate District, which is represented by Senate President Tom Neihaus. That district also includes Clermont, Brown and Adams. Like the 90th House District, the Senate district also includes a small portion of Lawrence County.
Whether or not any of those changes will take effect, however, is still an open question. Ohio Democrats, who are already suing over the newly drawn Congressional districts, have said they might legally challenge the statehouse maps as well. A major point of contention is the elimination of a majority-minority State Senate district in Cuyahoga County. A majority-minority district is a district in which more than half of the voters are racial or ethnic minorities.
Republicans should have drawn two majority-minority Senate Districts, as already exist today in Cuyahoga County, Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro wrote in a news release. However, creating safe Republican districts was a higher priority than complying with the Voting Rights Act.
Evans said the Apportionment Board, which has the final say on state-level redistricting, plans to re-convene today to work out some minor boundary issues.

ERIC KEPHAS can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 234 or ekephas@heartlandpublications.com
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