- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Hardin County residents might be able to make a case for three in-county state representatives based on census totals released last week.
State Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown, said he doubts that will happen, but he expects the 2020 census to give the county a third exclusive representative.
Currently, Lee and Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, live in and represent the county. The state Constitution limits district sizes to about 40,000 residents for each state representative.
That means some of the 94,174 Hardin Countians recorded in the 2000 census have been represented by Rep. Dwight Butler, R-Harned; Rep. C.B. Embry, R-Morgantown; or Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg.
The 12.1 percent growth since the last census means the county could push for three representative districts primarily within the county’s boundaries. Those representatives would have the minimum number of constituents in each of their districts, Lee said.
“It would get very close,” he said.
Lee said that likely won’t happen because there aren’t enough residents yet to show a strong need for a third Hardin County representative.
It also could cause a lot of animosity from legislators living in other counties to lose a portion of their districts. To make up the population loss, they might be forced to serve areas where they have never before worked, he said.
“Redistricting is one of the most contentious things about being a legislator,” he said. “You’re drawing lines that you’ve got to work and run in. The only fistfight I’ve ever seen was over redistricting.”
That doesn’t mean that Lee has given up on Hardin County one day getting a third in-county representative.
“The goal is to have all citizens of Hardin County represented by someone who lives in Hardin County,” he said.
Lee said population growth from changes at Fort Knox largely was not included in the 2010 census. He expects that population change to be significant in the next census unless something unexpected decreases the county population.
That could give Hardin County a good case for another representative, Lee said.
Whatever the census results, district lines likely will change a little based on updated population information from the 2010 census, he said.
Lee expects officials in Frankfort to learn from county clerks around July which precincts showed growth. That will reveal which representatives’ districts have grown too large or small and lead to some shuffling to get everyone back to serving about 40,000 residents, he said.
He expects representatives to meet in special session to begin work on the changes near November.
Congressional districts will be subject to the same shuffling based on census information. The General Assembly draws those lines but Lee doesn’t expect the districts to change much.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.