Redistricting plan writes senator out of his district in 2 years

2012-12-09T00:00:00Z Redistricting plan writes senator out of his district in 2 yearsBy MIKE DENNISON IR State Bureau Helena Independent Record
December 09, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Sen.-elect Greg Jergeson of Chinook may not be a man without a country, but in two years, thanks to redistricting, he’ll be a senator without a Senate district.

“They’ve just made a hash of the whole Hi-Line, from one end to the other,” Jergeson said Friday of the state panel that is redrawing Montana’s legislative districts for 2014-2022.

Jergeson, a Democrat, just won election in Senate District 17, to fill out the last two years of a seat vacated by former state Sen. Rowlie Hutton of Havre, who moved out of state last year. The Hi-Line district includes Havre and most of Hill and Blaine counties.

On his Facebook page, Jergeson said he'd previously served as a state senator for 22 years, from 1975 to 1981 and 1987 to 2003.

Yet the Districting and Apportionment Commission has drawn a new proposed Hi-Line Senate district that does not include Havre, but stretches from near Havre all the way to the North Dakota border, some 260 miles long.

The panel then assigned Republican Sen. John Brenden of Scobey to represent the district when it officially becomes effective in 2015.

That means when Jergeson’s term expires in 2014, he can’t run for re-election in the new district, because Brenden will already be the senator through 2016.

Jergeson said while he’d like to run for re-election, the real problem is the huge size of the district and the fact that it contains multiple communities that don’t have much in common.

“It’s unmanageable,” he said. “From Scobey to Havre, it would end up being a 600-mile round trip. … It is just a district that doesn’t make any damn sense.”

Jergeson lives in Chinook, but also has worked in Havre and said he has “family up the kazoo” in Havre. He said it’s possible he could have a residence in Havre and run for the proposed new Senate district that includes Havre, but that he’s made no decision.

Jergeson said he’ll likely be testifying at a Dec. 19 hearing in Helena before the Districting and Apportionment Commission, on the proposed plan for new districts. The commission must submit a final plan in February.

“It’s too early to start measuring the curtains to take my place or consider me a lame duck,” Jergeson said.

Copyright 2016 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. FlamingLiberal1
    Report Abuse
    FlamingLiberal1 - December 10, 2012 1:34 pm
    I hope this blatant gerrymandering is overturned. Eliminating a duly elected official from his district and then appointing someone of the opposing party to a term which denies the voters of the opportunity to select the one they want for four years? Outrageous!

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us.

If your comment was not approved, perhaps:

    1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).

    2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.

    3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.

    4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.

    5. You believe the newspaper's coverage is unfair. It would be better to write the editor at editor@helenair.com. This is a forum for community discussion, not for media criticism. We'd rather address your concerns directly.

    6. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.

    7. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.

    8. Your comment is in really poor taste.

    9. Don't write a novel. If your comment is longer than the article you're commenting on, you might want to cut it down a bit. Lengthy comments will likely be removed.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick